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WorkingPoor

Eurocopter twin squirrel "millionaire killer"

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It seems another Eurocopter twin squirrel crash has claimed the lives of it's millionaire owners, this time a group of 5 property developers

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3210670/snowdonia-helicopter-crash-victims-same-family-burke-milton-keynes/

Colin McRae was also piloting one of these same aircraft in 2007 when it crashed killing all on board. 

CFIT : Controlled flight into terrain

Really pushing the limit in bad weather with 5 passengers + luggage, with a direct route over mountainous terrain. 

Edited by WorkingPoor

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Helicopters are bloody dangerous. Scores of the rich and famous have died in crashes, especially the owner operator variety. Steve Hislop was one. He spent his life charging round the Isle on Man TT but died flying his helicopter into the ground in bad weather.

Helicopters are fantastic machines but the learning curve is long and mistakes are usually punished severely. I'd rather leave it to an experienced professional pilot.

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Colin McRae blamed for fatal helicopter crash

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-14803595

Rally car champion Colin McRae has been blamed for causing the helicopter crash in which he died along with his five-year-old son and two family friends.

A fatal accident inquiry found the crash, near his family home in Lanark in 2007, happened because he carried out unnecessary low-level manoeuvres. 

It also found that Mr McRae's flying was "imprudent" and "unreasonable". 

In a statement, the McRae family said they "still believe we will never know what caused the crash".

No permission

Mr McRae, 39, his five-year-old son Johnny, the boy's six-year-old friend Ben Porcelli and Graeme Duncan, 37, all died when the aircraft came down near the McRae family home in Lanark on 15 September 2007 as they flew home from a trip to see a friend.

The inquiry had heard from Karen and Mark Porcelli, the parents of Ben, who said they did not give Mr McRae permission to take their son in the helicopter.

Sheriff Nikola Stewart, who heard the inquiry over 16 days at Lanark Sheriff Court, concluded that the deaths could have been avoided if Mr McRae had not engaged in low-level flying "when it was unnecessary and unsafe to do so".

In her written determination, the sheriff concluded: "The deaths and the accident resulting in the deaths might have been avoided had Mr McRae not flown his helicopter into the Mouse Valley.

"Such a precaution would have been entirely reasonable. There was no necessity to enter the Mouse Valley. There were no operational or logistical reasons to enter the Mouse Valley.

"Mr McRae chose to fly the helicopter into the valley. For a private pilot such as Mr McRae, lacking the necessary training, experience or requirement to do so, embarking upon such demanding, low-level flying in such difficult terrain, was imprudent, unreasonable and contrary to the principles of good airmanship.

Well said Sherrif Nikola Stewart

Edited by WorkingPoor

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Think it's three people I've known, possibly more, who've died when they have crashed their helicopters often with several passengers. I would consider all helicopters and light aircraft potentially unsafe in private ownership. I've witnessed two fixed wing light aircraft fatal crashes too. 

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4 hours ago, SNACR said:

Think it's three people I've known, possibly more, who've died when they have crashed their helicopters often with several passengers. I would consider all helicopters and light aircraft potentially unsafe in private ownership. I've witnessed two fixed wing light aircraft fatal crashes too. 

You move in some rich circles then SNACR

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Those hills are covered in bits of aircraft going back to WW2. It's a dangerous area.

Not a fan of helicopters myself, at least if a planes engines fail you can glide for a distance. 

Not known anyone come a cropper in one personally but a friend of mine from school was killed along with everyone on board a few years back when the airliner he was on crashed into a mountain. Grim.

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3 minutes ago, Sgt Hartman said:

Those hills are covered in bits of aircraft going back to WW2. It's a dangerous area.

Not a fan of helicopters myself, at least if a planes engines fail you can glide for a distance. 

Not known anyone come a cropper in one personally but a friend of mine from school was killed along with everyone on board a few years back when the airliner he was on crashed into a mountain. Grim.

Mike Smith, who I've just looked up died three years ago, said after his crash that as long as the blades are still turning then the helicopter contimues to glide forwards and you can have a semi controlled landing which he and Sarah Greene had when they crashed.

They only drop out of the sky like a stone if the main rotor stops.

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4 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

Mike Smith, who I've just looked up died three years ago, said after his crash that as long as the blades are still turning then the helicopter contimues to glide forwards and you can have a semi controlled landing which he and Sarah Greene had when they crashed.

They only drop out of the sky like a stone if the main rotor stops.

But...... when it comes to mechanical failure,which helis suffer from a lot, its normally the rotor gearbox thats lock.

Military heli services are always checking for metal particles in the oil, trying to catch any problem asap.

Im ok wth private people/non pros flying light aircraft but helis, nope.

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10 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

Mike Smith, who I've just looked up died three years ago, said after his crash that as long as the blades are still turning then the helicopter contimues to glide forwards and you can have a semi controlled landing which he and Sarah Greene had when they crashed.

They only drop out of the sky like a stone if the main rotor stops.

Interesting, every day is a school day!

Ray Mears survived a bad crash in America a while ago, he was very lucky to walk away from that one.

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41 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

Mike Smith, who I've just looked up died three years ago, said after his crash that as long as the blades are still turning then the helicopter contimues to glide forwards and you can have a semi controlled landing which he and Sarah Greene had when they crashed.

They only drop out of the sky like a stone if the main rotor stops.

I thought all helicopter pilots had to do an autorotation landing with no power as part of their training. You can't get a license to fly them without learning the technique.  Certainly if you read the book Chickenhawk about flying helicopters in Vietnam the US military practised such landings a lot.

Edited by Flirtygirty

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1 hour ago, Flirtygirty said:

I thought all helicopter pilots had to do an autorotation landing with no power as part of their training. You can't get a license to fly them without learning the technique.  Certainly if you read the book Chickenhawk about flying helicopters in Vietnam the US military practised such landings a lot.

Yeah, but amateur pilots don't practice the technique (much).  Professionals have to do simulator hours.

Anyway, this looks very much like a poor visibility crash.  That is the main problem with amateur pilots (well, the ones on a mission like this, rather than just having fun) -- they've more likely to keep going when the conditions deteriorate, and are much more likely to get a spatial disorientation (or, rather, don't have the instrument training that would ensure that they keep flying level)

[I was always told 30 seconds from losing visibility to irrecoverable flight profile.  Sounds amazing, but lots of simulator evidence for it.]

 

Edited by dgul

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12 minutes ago, dgul said:

Yeah, but amateur pilots don't practice the technique (much).  Professionals have to do simulator hours.

Anyway, this looks very much like a poor visibility crash.  That is the main problem with amateur pilots (well, the ones on a mission like this, rather than just having fun) -- they've more likely to keep going when the conditions deteriorate, and are much more likely to get a spatial disorientation (or, rather, don't have the instrument training that would ensure that they keep flying level)

[I was always told 30 seconds from losing visibility to irrecoverable flight profile.  Sounds amazing, but lots of simulator evidence for it.]

 

Yes, start off in good conditions, vis drops, get below cloud base and head back home, vis drops again, start flying instrument only, get course wrong, mountain, splat.

Used to do a bit of day sailing (crewing, not owner), anything above Force 6 never used to go out, small yacht, wind against big tide, could get uncomfortable pretty quickly.

 

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10 minutes ago, onlyme said:

Yes, start off in good conditions, vis drops, get below cloud base and head back home, vis drops again, start flying instrument only, get course wrong, mountain, splat.

Used to do a bit of day sailing (crewing, not owner), anything above Force 6 never used to go out, small yacht, wind against big tide, could get uncomfortable pretty quickly.

 

Helicopters fly fast.

Have you been in the intercity, up the east coast, non stop?

There you are travelling 110 ish, slower than a heli. The train goes in and out of different weather. Rainy one minute, sunny the next.

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6 minutes ago, spygirl said:

Helicopters fly fast.

Have you been in the intercity, up the east coast, non stop?

There you are travelling 110 ish, slower than a heli. The train goes in and out of different weather. Rainy one minute, sunny the next.

Not been up to that route, just chuggers down here, london route no faster than 30 years ago. Been in a heli a few times, at that speed you can get way off course very quickly and even if you have visibility all the visual clues you expect to see may not be there at all if you are already out on your route planning. 

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Surely a pilot should be able to keep an aircraft level in zero visability using instruments alone? 

I would expect that to be part of the PPL? 

Anyway these 5 were flying from luton to dublin, a popular route for budget airlines, it would have only cost them £40 each from the airport down the road, far less than the cost of running that helicopter to dublin. 

I do wonder if they were kind of trapped in fog and surrounded by mountainsides and flew about for a while trying to escape? 

Edited by WorkingPoor

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I thought with a helicopter there was less chance of becoming committed somewhere with no escape - can stop, ascend, turn fairly quickly*. Also nothing in Wales is over 1100 metres, not exactly high altitude, would seem like an easy rule to follow.

* helicopter logging in the Alps is particularly impressive

 

Edited by Panther

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2 hours ago, WorkingPoor said:

Surely a pilot should be able to keep an aircraft level in zero visability using instruments alone? 

 

No.  Quite difficult to do and requires lots of practice.

I once spoke with CAA about why they don't insist on more instrument training for basic PPL and the response was that they don't want amateurs thinking that they can do instrument.  They don't even want them up there and turning around if things get bad.  What they want is for the pilot to not fly if there is even a remote risk of conditions closing up.  They don't want PPL thinking that 'oh, I've done a few hours instrument training, I'll be fine'.  If anything, the instrument bit on PPL is there to show pilots how quickly things can get out of control if you're not putting 110% into the instruments, rather than to actually show them how to fly on instruments (if the need arose).  

[you'd think it would be easy -- attitude indicator, ASI, turn coordinator, altitude, etc, just make sure they're all saying the right thing.   But pilots do get confused, even professionals.  And the problem actually comes when they're flying into and out of blind -- the usual problem is hanging on to visual flight for too long, then finding it difficult to work out what the instruments are saying when they have to fly on them.  And there are all sorts of visual illusions that can catch you out when the visibility is reduced but you think you're okay without flying on instruments (eg, in mountainous terrain a problem might be the horizon not being flat, but flying to it anyway, resulting in all sorts of problems -- you'd think they'd then fly to their artificial-horizon, but they're concentrating too much on the outside world, not enough on the instruments).

For professional flight (well, rotary wing anyway -- I presume fixed wing would be similar) a typical approach would be for one pilot to fly 'heads out' on visual, the other to be completely focused on instruments, making sure that they're all making sense (and feeding back to the pilot-in-control if they don't).  Then, if the visual pilot loses vision of the terrain they can just hand over control to the other pilot who already understands how to fly on the instruments from that position, because they've been concentrating on the instruments.]

Edited by dgul

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