Helicopter crash in NYC

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
They missed the first step — ACCEPT.

If the pilots perform a good preflight wx analysis, and they still get stuck, they shouldn’t fear FAA/company reprisals. Until we have 100% weather reporting coverage that’s 100% accurate, it’ll happen. It takes the the company to allow (spend $$) for proficiency flying too to maintain the skills.
The big problem is not that guys are failing to recognize the deterioriating Wx conditions in front of them or rate of deterioration, but moreso that they are recognizing them and still pressing forward hoping to either beat them or find a good PL spot without having to backtrack. By the time they fully understand the square corner they've put themselves in, its too late options-wise. Granted, there are situations where accidental encounters happen, but often the available PL option wasnt exercised 10 mins prior. But too many times, the inadverent IMC often stems from adverent causal factors.
 

tomokc

Well-Known Member
Has the likely cause been determined for the crash? Did the non-instrument-rated pilot become spatially-disoriented and simply crash on a building rooftop, and amazingly NOT go over the edge? Or did he encounter a mechanical issue in MVFR and attempt to land on the nearest flat surface?
 

USMCmech

Well-Known Member
Two things I think from a non-rotor perspective....1. A helo won’t fly hands off at all making an autopilot or SIC a physical necessity not a regulatory one. 2. I’m not sure how functional or widespread known-ice gear is in helos.
Those are the two key differences.

Most turbine helicopters (206, AStar, ect) are in fact certified for IFR ONLY IF two pilots are on board (which is almost never). One actually flys the aircraft, and the other handles all the navigation, comms, ect. Careflite has 407s on their VFR part of the certificate, G1000 with basic autopilot and the pilots do practice IFR just in case they ever need it, but they can't actually file.

For an helicopter to be SP IFR cerfitfied, it has to have a very robust autopilot. The Bell 429s that Careflight uses will fly a coupled ILS down to a 50ft hover completely hands off. Most of the S-92s used in the gulf will fly a RNAV approach to rig's pad completely on it's own. EMS birds can do the same to many hospital pads.


I honestly can't think of a civilian helicopter with known ice. Some of the military birds do, but it's just too expensive for the civilian world.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Those are the two key differences.

Most turbine helicopters (206, AStar, ect) are in fact certified for IFR ONLY IF two pilots are on board (which is almost never). One actually flys the aircraft, and the other handles all the navigation, comms, ect. Careflite has 407s on their VFR part of the certificate, G1000 with basic autopilot and the pilots do practice IFR just in case they ever need it, but they can't actually file.

For an helicopter to be SP IFR cerfitfied, it has to have a very robust autopilot. The Bell 429s that Careflight uses will fly a coupled ILS down to a 50ft hover completely hands off. Most of the S-92s used in the gulf will fly a RNAV approach to rig's pad completely on it's own. EMS birds can do the same to many hospital pads.


I honestly can't think of a civilian helicopter with known ice. Some of the military birds do, but it's just too expensive for the civilian world.
There’s a number of operations with EC-135/145 that have SPIFR with some pretty good autopilots and such. Nice aircraft, but also expensive to own/operate especially for most EMS operations, since most of these operations run somewhat on the cheap anyway. So, most of what’s seen is indeed the 206/407/AS350, which just like you said, are often IFR capable basic equipment-wise, but not authorized for same.
 

Boris Badenov

He comes to save the day in a broken truck.
but to recharge the installed Lifeport tanks required maintenance and a wrench.
We could do it at Methods. And did. Often.

So often, in fact, that I know of at least one emergency landing which occurred (we all strongly suspected, anyway), because the pilot in question either didn't service the O2, or did it incorrectly.
 

knot4u

Repeat Offender
We could do it at Methods. And did. Often.

So often, in fact, that I know of at least one emergency landing which occurred (we all strongly suspected, anyway), because the pilot in question either didn't service the O2, or did it incorrectly.
I want to assume you're talking about the stretcher and not the airplane. I know it's not cheap but please get someone who understands what they're doing when servicing the crew O2. Med flights are no excuse for substandard MX.
 

Cherokee_Cruiser

Well-Known Member
I don’t get this, probably cause I don’t have any understanding of helicopter aerodynamics, hovering, etc:



Why can’t the guy just stick it on one heading, and vertically go straight down and land? Even if it lands into trees, vertically with 0 speed (hover descent?) it should be survivable no?
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
I don’t get this, probably cause I don’t have any understanding of helicopter aerodynamics, hovering, etc:



Why can’t the guy just stick it on one heading, and vertically go straight down and land? Even if it lands into trees, vertically with 0 speed (hover descent?) it should be survivable no?
As explained before: spatial disorientation. Severe. Far more severe than you would encounter in an airplane.

You can’t hover in IMC with no indicators that show drift. Because drift will happen and there’s no reliable cockpit indications of it, whether sidewards or backwards. So there’s no way to keep the helo over one spot with no visual hover references, unless having hover drift cues or a hold system. That’s why in IMC, it’s imperative to keep forward speed and keep the helo flying like an airplane. Not only to have proper indications for flight, but to avoid spatial D. Being in IMC and drifting backwards is hugely disorienting, especially when there’s no instruments/gauges to go to in order to confirm that or not.

In this instance, the pilot did the classic thing of getting too slow in IMC to a near hover, got spatial D, pulled in power to get away from the ground that he couldn’t see, didn’t counter the abrupt power pull with appropriate right pedal (eurotrash helo), got into a level spin which is also disorienting and only shows on the HSI card rotating and turn/bank indicator rolling, began severely drifting in addition to the spin to where the aircraft started slowly pitching and rolling with no indication of what it was doing until it became severe enough to register on the artificial horizon. Caving the AH only made matters worse, now with no baseline reference of where the helo is. By then it’s too late, due to too many factors to recover from and being severely disoriented. Impact with obstacles/terrain in some combination of roll/pitch usually occurs shortly thereafter, with the resultant destruction of the helo as it comes apart.

Got to keep the forward motion going, set an attitude, pull in power to climb, control the heading with the HSI, cross check the VVI and altimeter for a proper controlled climb on a heading that will best keep you away from terrain so you don’t hit the ground or anything attached to the ground, and climb to either exit the Wx or get away from terrain enough that you can get the bird flying and under control, going where you want it to, and with minimal to no spatial D...or being settled enough to overcome any spatial D. Then navigate to where you figure is clear or can recover to, and go from there. Do not try to hover and land, especially in this situation where snow whiteout conditions close to the ground likely aggravated the condition.
 
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FlyingAccountant

Well-Known Member
Has the likely cause been determined for the crash? Did the non-instrument-rated pilot become spatially-disoriented and simply crash on a building rooftop, and amazingly NOT go over the edge? Or did he encounter a mechanical issue in MVFR and attempt to land on the nearest flat surface?
He told ATC he was lost and didn't mention anything about a mechanical, so spatial disorientation seems like a pretty safe assumption at this point.
 

T/O w/FSII

Well-Known Member
I was gifted with 12 hours in a A star sim once at CAE. At the time I had a private and instrument airplane. My dad retired after 19k helicopter hours without a instrument rating.

By hour 6 I was pretty well versed in the thing, doing hovering figure 8’s with the nose pointed in the center of cones, auto’s, approaches to hospitals, etc.All fun. All the sim instructors said I was a natural and was better then most pilots...VFR.

The first time I flew it into IMC I died almost instantly. Then I died again, and again. It wasn’t until I figured out you had to maintain forward airspeed was I able to shoot a ILS...poorly.

It’s like standing on two balls stacked on top of one another, blindfolded, while the room spins around you, and both your hands have grenades in them with the pin pulled.

Also, the balls are actively trying to kill you.
 

knot4u

Repeat Offender
Oh yeah, the Lifeport. They weren't quite dumb enough to have us monkeying with the ship's o2.
I hated working anywhere that had Lears equipped for stretchers and charter. The stretcher was normally stored under a cover in the corner or in a closet somewhere in the hangar. The call would come in and we'd yank the seats and mount the stretcher because the patient was absolutely going to be transported in the next half hour. We would have preprinted log entries and weight and balance pages printed on stickers that required nothing more than a date and a signature and sticking them or placing them in the books. And then we'd wait, and wait, and wait. Every once in awhile the nurses would show up and stand around, they often times felt as if they had to show some sort of superiority by disrespecting the airplane they're about to fly in. I have no idea if my efforts ever saved a life and I don't care, trying to be a charter and a medflight business is bottom feeder. If you work for a company flying 30 series Lears doing charter and medflights run, run far away post haste.
 

Bob Ridpath

Pit Bull love
I hated working anywhere that had Lears equipped for stretchers and charter. The stretcher was normally stored under a cover in the corner or in a closet somewhere in the hangar. The call would come in and we'd yank the seats and mount the stretcher because the patient was absolutely going to be transported in the next half hour. We would have preprinted log entries and weight and balance pages printed on stickers that required nothing more than a date and a signature and sticking them or placing them in the books. And then we'd wait, and wait, and wait. Every once in awhile the nurses would show up and stand around, they often times felt as if they had to show some sort of superiority by disrespecting the airplane they're about to fly in. I have no idea if my efforts ever saved a life and I don't care, trying to be a charter and a medflight business is bottom feeder. If you work for a company flying 30 series Lears doing charter and medflights run, run far away post haste.
Our 911 protocol is for a standby based upon mechanics of injury. Many times there is a self-launch and head toward the area if the call is accepted, only to be cancelled because ground transport is as expeditious. Personally, I’m an advocate for times long-gone: let the medic or basic EMS arrive on scene and determine the need for air transport. I hate this crap where you’re 15 minutes from ground ALS transport to a trauma center but you want a chopper with an 18 minute ETA to the scene.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
I was gifted with 12 hours in a A star sim once at CAE. At the time I had a private and instrument airplane. My dad retired after 19k helicopter hours without a instrument rating.

By hour 6 I was pretty well versed in the thing, doing hovering figure 8’s with the nose pointed in the center of cones, auto’s, approaches to hospitals, etc.All fun. All the sim instructors said I was a natural and was better then most pilots...VFR.

The first time I flew it into IMC I died almost instantly. Then I died again, and again. It wasn’t until I figured out you had to maintain forward airspeed was I able to shoot a ILS...poorly.

It’s like standing on two balls stacked on top of one another, blindfolded, while the room spins around you, and both your hands have grenades in them with the pin pulled.

Also, the balls are actively trying to kill you.
Helo IMC reallly isn’t that tough so long as it’s flown like an airplane, which above about 25 knots, it more or less does.
 

Lawman

Well-Known Member
Two things I think from a non-rotor perspective....1. A helo won’t fly hands off at all making an autopilot or SIC a physical necessity not a regulatory one. 2. I’m not sure how functional or widespread known-ice gear is in helos.
That would be news to me and a whole lot of people flying helicopters with fully coupled Autopilots.

My aircraft will all but land it’s self. And really, all it won’t do is defend the last 50 feet without me holding a button allowing it to do so.

The difference is in the people who manage the operation and what they place in importance. I have an aircraft so equipped because the people that dictate my mission control the purse strings to make sure I am never the short link in making mission due to weather. A whole lot of people running logging, air ambulance, and other such helicopter ops don’t give one iota to that mindset. To them it’s “why would we want/need that?” Well the difference is the way pilots of such an equipped aircraft react to weather.

Those guys flip out like holy hell and will chase any sucker hole they can find and put themselves in worse positions because clouds are like the gates of hell to them. Me, I know there isn’t a dragon living in them, so let’s go in the clouds.
 
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Bob Ridpath

Pit Bull love
That would be news to me and a whole lot of people flying helicopters with fully coupled Autopilots.

My aircraft will all but land it’s self. And really, all it won’t do is defend the last 50 feet without me holding a button allowing it to do so.

The difference is in the people who manage the operation and what they place in importance. I have an aircraft so equipped because the people that dictate my mission control the purse strings to make sure I am never the short link in making mission due to weather. A whole lot of people running logging, air ambulance, and other such helicopter ops don’t give one iota to that mindset. To them it’s “why would we want/need that?” Well the difference is the way pilots of such an equipped aircraft react to weather.

Those guys flip out like holy hell and will chase any sucker hole they can find and put themselves in worse positions because clouds are like the gates of hell to them. Me, I know there isn’t a dragon living in them, so let’s go in the clouds.
I’m someone who asks you, or a colleague, to fly into difficult places because someone else was an ass and got themselves seriously hurt. I’ve not kept specific track, but would guess you accept the call (with your crew) - and often auto-launch for a standby - 95% of the time, or more, despite crappy weather.

Those of us on the ground face different hazards. Working together, despite the challenges we both face, has saved the lives of strangers.

You, and your crew, rock when you fly. It matters to people who will never say “Thank you.”
 

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
We could do it at Methods. And did. Often.

So often, in fact, that I know of at least one emergency landing which occurred (we all strongly suspected, anyway), because the pilot in question either didn't service the O2, or did it incorrectly.
Yeah filling bed O2 is definitely in the pilots’ wheelhouse here. Which is fine. Even doing crew O2 ain’t rocket surgery but if the boss man says the mech needs to do it, and doesn’t want to pay me $X an hour or so to use that A&P cert, I’m more than happy to keep the crew room recliner pinned to the floor while our base mech does the work.
 
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