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-   -   Mont Blanc helicopter rescue (https://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/617060-mont-blanc-helicopter-rescue.html)

John Eacott 10th Jan 2019 21:29

Again, there is nothing unsafe about the ‘nose-in’ evolution which has been used for many, many years. [email protected] I suspect you may have overlooked the backpacks which were part of the load taken on board prior to the double lift, but that would have added at least another hoist cycle to the mix. But it didn’t because an option to winching was used which was/is well practiced and safe. Those who query the OEI capability should be aware that the 117/145 has oodles of power and is unlikely to have been operated outside such requirements.

Another view from a similar op back 5-6 years ago, made more demanding by use of the left door. Same opinion from me about transitioning with the winch weight still outside, though!


SASless 10th Jan 2019 22:11

Memory serves me that the Austrian Police (the Austria without Kangaroo's) pioneered high mountain rescues using fixed line transfers......so I guess there are multiple right answers to the same problem.

They do it using mirrors and not long line style bubble windows too I am thinking.

jimf671 11th Jan 2019 01:52

My understanding is that these guys have a very detailed understanding of the geometry at the front of this type for exactly this kind of op.

Moving before winching is complete? Normal in their patch. They are normally working at altitude and seem to be searching for translational lift at every opportunity. Have a look at some of their online videos and you'll see they are routinely winching out on approach and doing a very quick insertion as though it were a longline. Similar but in reverse during recoveries.

It's not what is normally done in some other territories but it's not the same conditions either. I've met a few of these guys and listened to their presentations about specific rescues. They present as very professional and they have a niche way of working for the conditions they encounter on their patch.

SASless 11th Jan 2019 01:59

Another way to look at it....what is their accident rate as compared to other similar operations?

As long as they have found a way that works for them...and they retain an admirable safety record....then they deserve respect.

That they do different sure doesn't make them wrong.

[email protected] 11th Jan 2019 05:53

John, no I hadn't missed the backpacks but a First Response Bag doesn't weigh enough to need an extra lift unless you have a very weight limited hoist - the medics are very unlikely to deploy on a steep, snowy slope with a heavy mass on their backs - that is asking for a slip down the hill.

No-one (apart from journos) has said that the nose-in technique is inherently unsafe but it does carry additional risk compared to winching or a side-on skid landing. Antone who has flown mountain rescues will have had to place the aircraft in a less than ideal position where a malfunction could have serious implications but sometimes it is absolutely required to save lives - in this case it wasn't.

Thoroughly agree that the space-walk on the winch in was completely unnecessary.:ok:

John Eacott 11th Jan 2019 07:00

The geometry of the skids/nose touching the slope is such that the blade tips will not impact on the upslope as long as it is the same slope angle or less. A competent and capable pilot should have no problem judging the slope and thus carrying out the evolution.

[email protected], the narrow skid set on the 117/145 is such that a side-on skid landing is less safe as the slope angle has to be less to ensure tip clearance, plus there is no other fuselage point to give an assurance in the same manner as the skid tips/nose touching as shown in the videos.

hoistop 11th Jan 2019 07:43

Had a chance to talk to those guys and visited Chamonix base recently- they have qute a lot of training and a lot of actual practice, so definitelly proficient in what they do. Agree that nose-in brings quite some risk and if winch is available, might look questionable. But there were other factors affecting risk assesment (weather in particular) and they decided on the best course of action under circumstances.
I was also against such practices, as winch is available, am aware of many incidents/accidents occuring during such attempts, but a well trained/proficient crew can do it quite safely.
Do not underestimate exposure time. Crab, am aware of your winching procedures a little (tried it with 202. Squadron - great time!), but we decided to do it differently as hovering near rocks for ages winching in and out 30 metres of cable or more makes seconds extending to near eternity. And there is a time limit for hovering in RFM for some types.
"Spacewalking" might looks dangerous but our rescuers are aware that it does not really matter if you fall 30 or 300 metres, so we also winch in and out away from rocks as much as possible, thus exposing everybody for minimum time necessary - also falling rocks are often an issue to think of. (those triggered by helicopter and those that might hit us from above)

[email protected] 11th Jan 2019 12:25

John - I take your point about nose-in versus lateral but he did something in between for the drop off - just the front of the right skid on the snow - again well flown but if nose in is better, why didn't he do that then?

Hoistop - don't confuse what we did on UK SAR with this operation - we had to winch 95% of the time since a nose-in landing wasn't an option and the larger disc and downwash of the Sea King meant we had to winch higher than you would in a smaller helo.

As for the falling - we tried whenever possible to keep the winchman and casualty as low as possible to the ground - it couldn't always be achieved but I would still rather fall 5 m than 50 m or 500 m. On a snowy slope at low height you at least have a chance of stopping yourself sliding whereas from a greater height you are probably going all the way to the bottom.

Cornish Jack 11th Jan 2019 18:15

Crab - Everything EXCEPT in Cornwall ... that's just my origin! and the 'Jack' is from having operated in all crew positions except gunner and having been a 'Master' :O The concomitance of the "...all trades" phrase is noted - and accepted!:sad:

Fareastdriver 12th Jan 2019 10:31

Northern Norway, late Seventies.

British Army lands his Scout on the snow and shuts it down to talk to various personnel. Whilst engrossed in this Scout slides down the hill into a snowbank.

Lots of radio traffic and OC Scouts fly out. He lands his Scout on the snow, shuts down and commences to bollock said pilot.

Scout slides down the hill into the first Scout.

SASless 12th Jan 2019 12:37

FED,

I must ask....which Scout were you flying?

Guide_Jim 12th Jan 2019 14:12


Originally Posted by jimf671 (Post 10357536)
My understanding is that these guys have a very detailed understanding of the geometry at the front of this type for exactly this kind of op.

Moving before winching is complete? Normal in their patch. They are normally working at altitude and seem to be searching for translational lift at every opportunity. Have a look at some of their online videos and you'll see they are routinely winching out on approach and doing a very quick insertion as though it were a longline. Similar but in reverse during recoveries.

It's not what is normally done in some other territories but it's not the same conditions either. I've met a few of these guys and listened to their presentations about specific rescues. They present as very professional and they have a niche way of working for the conditions they encounter on their patch.

I would hope they understand the geometry, especially as this is a pretty standard manoeuvre for the PGHM. My understanding having visited them in the last few years is that this a/c (Chocas 74) has modified skids for this purpose.

Can't comment on the relative advantages of winching vs setting down skid light, but would make the observation that this is common in Chamonix at least.

What I do find interesting is the amount of Social Media coverage this has received. Of course it's comes purely down to outcome as to where this is perceived as positive or negative. Sadly, it would probably go viral in either case(!)...

Two's in 12th Jan 2019 14:20


Originally Posted by Tickle (Post 10356614)
Amazing flying indeed! Are there sensors available much like parking sensors on cars which can indicate how close to something ahead the helicopter is?

Yes there is a warning system if you get too close to an object. There is an initial audio warning that sounds like rapid machine gun fire, this is accompanied by the cyclic being snatched from your hands, useful pieces of the main rotor blades then depart the aircraft at varying points around the compass, instantaneous and stupefying vibration may then remove the main rotor gear box from its mounting.

This is an excellent time to consult the Flight Reference Cards under "Actions on being a tool".

JohnDixson 12th Jan 2019 16:23

Anyone look at the angle between the fwd skid/nose and the forward tip path compared to the angle between the side skid and the side tip path?

SASless 12th Jan 2019 16:48

Two.....you are being a very naughty boy!:D

High Test Instant Columbian Coffee through one's nostrils is a quick way to wake up!:)

I think I might just start snorting the dry crystals and see how that works!

212man 12th Jan 2019 17:24


Originally Posted by ersa (Post 10356936)
I wonder what the MMI gauge looked like

The aircraft is still basically airborne so Iím sure it looks fine.

FlyXLsa 12th Jan 2019 23:50

There's a good series on YouTube:

Mountain Rescue


These guys are GOOD!

AnFI 20th Jan 2019 15:26

(JE)
Was this PC1? ie would that have worked with OEI ? Anyone KNOW?

EMS R22 22nd Jan 2019 22:34


Originally Posted by megan (Post 10356876)
Isn't it wonderful how we jump in criticising a crew without having the facts that prompted them to act as they did.


I agree. It seems to be the same old people from the same Country quick to stick the Knife in.....


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