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Re: Helicopter [Re: mk378] #5335580 01/29/20 04:10 PM
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Dodgetracker Offline
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Not really. Best would have been not to go in first place. Second best would have been to declare inadvertent IMC and requested vectoring back to base. Who knows the cause? Maybe pilot suffered a Medical emergency or something happened in the back that caused him to try and turn around to see, natural tendency is to push forward on the stick as leverage.


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Re: Helicopter [Re: quint] #5335587 01/29/20 04:16 PM
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Astro14 Offline
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Originally Posted by quint
As long as we're all second guessing (well, some of us)... what exactly would have been the appropriate thing to do in this case? In a C-172, I can see a huge issue because you have to keep moving. In the case of a chopper, couldn't you (theoretically, at least) simply stop forward motion, and go vertical and attempt to get out of the fog and orientate yourself?

Like I have any idea what I'm talking about....


Having flown a few helicopters - let me tell you that hovering is hard. Really hard.

To fly an airplane, you've got to keep three dimensions in control: pitch, roll, and yaw. Yaw is usually pretty easy in jets, a bit of trim in a prop, so, for basic control in IFR: pitch and roll, and then you have o navigate: heading and altitude control.

To hover, however, you've got to keep six dimensions in control: pitch, roll, yaw, left/right drift, fore-aft drift and power (collective). Power changes yaw dramatically, so you're really managing a far harder control problem in hover than in regular flight. At about 20-25 knots, when the helo goes into translational lift, it starts to fly like a conventional airplane, up to modest speed (100+ knots) and then there are other helo-unique issues, like loss of retreating-blade lift, power limitations, etc.

So, to hover requires control of those six parameters, while maintaining conventional control of a helo moving forward requires control of the usual three.

Hard to hover in VFR. Insanely difficult to hover in true IFR.

Your best bet when encountering IFR in a helicopter is to keep your airspeed modest (above translational lift speed but well below maximum) and fly it like a regular airplane.

But in IFR, with all airplanes, you have to navigate while you maintain control. Scud-running, as mentioned earlier, puts you in a pickle: you're trying to maintain visual ground contact and navigate while flying, you can get into fog/low cloud where that ground contact is gone instantly - and the transition to instrument flying may not happen smoothly as somatogravic illusions take place. You get "the leans" bad, and you desperately want to see the ground again, so, perhaps your instrument scan isn't as disciplined as it needs to be while you look below to try and regain ground contact, which causes more illusions, more inner-ear accelerations, and you become disoriented in a hurry.

This helicopter hit the ground at high airspeed and a high rate of descent.

That's got spatial disorientation written all over it. Helos don't usually fly at high airspeed and high rates of descent are not a good idea (ring vortex). No way the pilot was intentionally putting it into that set of parameters.


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Re: Helicopter [Re: Exhaustgases] #5335837 01/29/20 08:33 PM
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Go ahead and check the time to drive from Irvine to Thousand Oaks. At the time I checked, Google said 2-1/2 hours. No way could they have decided to drive instead of fly and still make the game. Think Kobe Bryant was going to miss the game? Wish I was wrong.

frown


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Re: Helicopter [Re: Exhaustgases] #5335958 01/29/20 10:17 PM
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Wolf359 Offline
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There was only one pilot and it sounds like there could have been two pilots. Would a second pilot have helped?

Re: Helicopter [Re: Exhaustgases] #5335974 01/29/20 10:35 PM
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Exhaustgases Offline OP
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2 pilots would have likely overloaded it, and or they would have to leave someone behind. If you listen to that pilots students they nothing but very good things to say about him. He was top notch. He was instrument rated, he knew how to fly in IMC very well, he knew how to use the instruments, unless they failed. Airspeed in any aircraft is the most important instrument, no way was he going to dive to the ground on purpose. I've also flown helicopter, I hate the things, and yes super difficult for a low hour pilot to hover, especially 15 to 20 feet off the ground. Helicopters are dangerous very high maintenance aircraft. Most of the crashes they have been in that is caused by failure of the machine, is broken tail rotor system. There is no redundancy for that, and if anything would cause it to go out of control that would do it. As well as losing a main rotor blade. Lack of keying the mic, heart attack. Then you can laugh, crashing into a flying saucer.

Re: Helicopter [Re: Exhaustgases] #5336156 01/30/20 08:23 AM
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Astro14 Offline
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High flight time doesn't always confer experience or competence.* Further, most helicopter pilots aren't practiced/experienced in IFR. So, I take the 8,000 logged flight hours of the pilot on this flight with a huge grain of salt - it means he's been flying for a while - but doesn't mean that he's good, or capable.

And, as stated, he was under pressure to fly in marginal conditions.

Many pilots make lousy decisions (to fly in weather that they can't handle, for example, or exceed a limit, or break a rule) with zero consequences. They then get used to that poor decision as normal, never realizing that their risk is high every time they do it. It's known as the "normalization of deviance" and the classic example is the Space Shuttle o-rings. Flight after flight, the o-rings burned through - a huge problem, but since the shuttle didn't blow up, they didn't fix the o-rings and kept flying. Then, the Challenger blew up. And all along, the lowly engineers who said flying with this problem was wrong, were ignored by those in authority who were pressured to make poor decisions.

So, scud run a few times without crashing, and eventually, scud running becomes "normal" - even though it's a terrible idea and reflects poor judgment.

But it's become "normal" so you do it, just like flying with o-rings that burn through. And it's all good - right up until disaster strikes. It's a case of "doing wrong feels so right" because it worked out a few times, and you got away with it, so it must be OK, it must be normal, it must be safe and you feel like you're good at making decisions because everything worked out OK.


*ref: Socrates and his position on the unexamined life - many pilots never take the time to evaluate their performance, never improve, never have the desire to improve. I've seen very high-time pilots (30,000+ hours) who have simply become so complacent that they have no idea how inept they've become. Their simulator performance warranted additional training and evaluation. Some of those evaluations resulted in additional training and revelation to the pilot, while some of those resulted in permanent retirement from flying.

Last edited by Astro14; 01/30/20 08:31 AM.

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Re: Helicopter [Re: Exhaustgases] #5336163 01/30/20 08:35 AM
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Sayjac Offline
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Slightly off topic, but not entirely and not more so than some others posted here. I wondered Monday why the initial crash thread on Gen topics subforum to which I was an early contributor Sunday afternoon was disappeared/deleted. After reading several posts and comments here more or less confirmed my suspicions. Without going into detail, while unfortunate, all things considered unsurprising.

Re: Helicopter [Re: Exhaustgases] #5336196 01/30/20 09:22 AM
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PimTac Offline
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I’ve mentioned before in similar threads but all of us have a internal alarm that starts telling our brain that something is not quite right. I don’t fly but I’ve been in a couple of dangerous situations where I remembered that nagging feeling.

We will never know but I wonder if that alarm was going off for the pilot?


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Re: Helicopter [Re: Exhaustgases] #5336262 01/30/20 10:21 AM
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To Astro’s point about the “unexamined life”.

My former flight instructor (over 10,000 hours) took his student in her brand new turbo-charged single engine Piper on a training flight from HVN to Cortland NY. The mid January trip was to deliver his daughter and her roommate back for the Spring semester at SUNY Cortland and give his student some instrument instruction.

The Cortland weather was at minimums. After missing the approach they diverted to Ithaca. The plane crashed just short of the runway at Ithaca killing all onboard. The wings and engine nacelle were caked with ice.

I was a really cautious pilot. I studied everything I could get my hands on. Including Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators. My plane was a C182 with STOL wingtips. A safe, easy to fly plane by any measure.

But I quickly decided that my instrument and commercial rating, 542 hours wasn’t enough. I sold the plane that week and have never regretted the decision.

Last edited by Sam_Julier; 01/30/20 10:25 AM.

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Re: Helicopter [Re: Sayjac] #5336407 01/30/20 01:30 PM
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Astro14 Offline
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Originally Posted by Sayjac
Slightly off topic, but not entirely and not more so than some others posted here. I wondered Monday why the initial crash thread on Gen topics subforum to which I was an early contributor Sunday afternoon was disappeared/deleted. After reading several posts and comments here more or less confirmed my suspicions. Without going into detail, while unfortunate, all things considered unsurprising.


I’m sorry that thread (RIP Kobe Bryant) was deleted. Some comments were worthwhile. Some were political, or unkind, attacking people and institutions. Ultimately, it was too hard to save the worthwhile parts.

I think we all agree that crashes are a tragedy. This one makes me both sad and frustrated because it was so avoidable, it’s such a common crash type, and a young girl was among the victims. I’m always more upset when kids are the victims.

Fortunately, this thread has focused on aviation, stayed polite and pretty much on topic.


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Re: Helicopter [Re: Astro14] #5336620 01/30/20 06:05 PM
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Exhaustgases Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Astro14
High flight time doesn't always confer experience or competence.* Further, most helicopter pilots aren't practiced/experienced in IFR. So, I take the 8,000 logged flight hours of the pilot on this flight with a huge grain of salt - it means he's been flying for a while - but doesn't mean that he's good, or capable.

And, as stated, he was under pressure to fly in marginal conditions.

Many pilots make lousy decisions (to fly in weather that they can't handle, for example, or exceed a limit, or break a rule) with zero consequences. They then get used to that poor decision as normal, never realizing that their risk is high every time they do it. It's known as the "normalization of deviance" and the classic example is the Space Shuttle o-rings. Flight after flight, the o-rings burned through - a huge problem, but since the shuttle didn't blow up, they didn't fix the o-rings and kept flying. Then, the Challenger blew up. And all along, the lowly engineers who said flying with this problem was wrong, were ignored by those in authority who were pressured to make poor decisions.

So, scud run a few times without crashing, and eventually, scud running becomes "normal" - even though it's a terrible idea and reflects poor judgment.

But it's become "normal" so you do it, just like flying with o-rings that burn through. And it's all good - right up until disaster strikes. It's a case of "doing wrong feels so right" because it worked out a few times, and you got away with it, so it must be OK, it must be normal, it must be safe and you feel like you're good at making decisions because everything worked out OK.


*ref: Socrates and his position on the unexamined life - many pilots never take the time to evaluate their performance, never improve, never have the desire to improve. I've seen very high-time pilots (30,000+ hours) who have simply become so complacent that they have no idea how inept they've become. Their simulator performance warranted additional training and evaluation. Some of those evaluations resulted in additional training and revelation to the pilot, while some of those resulted in permanent retirement from flying.

I like this post.

I wish time and x hours of experience wasn't applied to aquire the "Knowledge based" A&P ratings, just like you mentioned high time incompentent pilots the same is with some A&P people. And I did take it a bit off topic here.

Re: Helicopter [Re: Exhaustgases] #5336877 01/30/20 10:42 PM
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As someone who only has a couple hours flight time in a 172, this is a good thread.


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Re: Helicopter [Re: Exhaustgases] #5336881 01/30/20 10:49 PM
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adams355 Offline
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This piece has some informative info, one other young girl died as well. Complete tragedy.

https://coupler.foxsports.com.au/ap...s-story/bd22cd7b35eada0f118d29ef54be3ba6

Last edited by adams355; 01/30/20 11:09 PM.
Re: Helicopter [Re: Exhaustgases] #5336892 01/30/20 11:02 PM
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Super rich and a bad idea. Another classic case where the individuals over abundance of cash killed a bunch of people.
No mention of the service men that died just hours apart?

Re: Helicopter [Re: P10crew] #5336919 01/30/20 11:47 PM
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edyvw Offline
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Originally Posted by P10crew
Super rich and a bad idea. Another classic case where the individuals over abundance of cash killed a bunch of people.
No mention of the service men that died just hours apart?

Yes, people have abundance of cash and they immediately start killing people.


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