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Don't strap people in a helicopter

crash

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#1 chris pochari

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 01:51

http://abcnews.go.co...ory?id=53673315

Could a harness possibly add risk if the aircraft is in a ditching situation or a fire? I think we would need to analyze that carefully.

In an apparent autorotation and ditching it appears the pilot escaped safely unfortunately everyone else is left stuck inside the capsized aircraft, rescuers did not arrive in time.

These open door experience flights are becoming very popular, obviously if people are flying with the doors open they need to be harnessed, the only downsize to a harness is they are can tough to remove. They were not using regular seatbelts, Flynyon uses skydiving type harnesses that are very difficult to remove, and when you are panicking removing a complex harness is much more difficult. Now one could argue even if they were not harnessed they still would have had difficulty escaping, since the aircraft capsized, but their chance would probably have been higher, especially considering the doors are open allowing easy access out. Also, Offshore workers are trained in HUET (Helicopter underwater emergency training), tourists are not.  For the sake of the victims I would like to keep this discussion about safety and not let this descend into a free for all bashing opportunity, which is unproductive and disrespectful. 

Here's a video showing HUET training, notice the seat belts are quite easy to remove, rescuers at the NY accident said that they had to cut the harnesses.


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#2 TomPPL

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 05:53

Condolences to all concerned, this is a terrible accident.

 

I've done the HUET training many many times - one thing that sticks in my mind is how little time you have to prepare yourself for getting out. The harnesses are very easy to operate, one twist on a central 'dial' and all four points release. You then worry about the rotor stopping, finding and maintaining access to your escape route. As we all know, helis are top heavy so you wait for a roll, then the dreaded water filling, then escape.

 

That's in a training environment. First time you do it you feel anxious, some people totally freak out. some don't do it and walk away and some just get on with it - you never quite know how you will react until you do it yourself. Having members of the public go through an actual ditching to water with no training at all is as bad as it can get, having complex, tightly fastened harnesses would have compounded the issue.

 

Getting back to the harnesses - We also used the same types of harness during operations offshore (sometimes with the doors off) and all was well - never heard of anything untoward happening.

 

I can sort of see from the operators perspective that training customers up on heli-evac procedures in a variety of situations is a non starter, so the idea of strapping passengers in 'securely' would be the most likely route.

 

However, given the nature of the location (highly populated etc.) and one of the few places to carry out a successful auto being the water, I'm really surprised that the harnesses were set up this way, what also strikes me in light of the above is there appeared to be no sponsons on that ship, had they been fitted they would have given valuable time to all onboard



#3 Eric Hunt

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 06:25

No harness, Chris, and the person in the (violent?) ditching is flung against a solid wall and is unconscious or has broken arms, and will be dead anyway.

 

EVERY flight includes a briefing on how to operate the seat belt or harness. They all have a single point of release. You will then at least be conscious and with unbroken limbs, to be able to follow the briefed escape plan. if the operator doesn't include this in the preflight brief ("Oh, it might scare the passengers") then he is culpable.

 

Dunno why he didn't pop the floats.



#4 chris pochari

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 06:36


 

No harness, Chris, and the person in the (violent?) ditching is flung against a solid wall and is unconscious or has broken arms, and will be dead anyway.

 

EVERY flight includes a briefing on how to operate the seat belt or harness. They all have a single point of release. You will then at least be conscious and with unbroken limbs, to be able to follow the briefed escape plan. if the operator doesn't include this in the preflight brief ("Oh, it might scare the passengers") then he is culpable.

 

Dunno why he didn't pop the floats.

He popped the floats but on of them didn't open here https://www.nbcnewyo...-476498023.html

Chopper 4 reporter Kai Simonsen says passengers on such flights are usually strapped in as they take photos of the city. The passengers are normally shown a safety video before going up that instructs them to use a cutter on their harness to break free during an emergency, Simonsen says. I don't see how you're going to have time to cut the harness when you're submerged in water.

But after FDNY and NYPD harbor and aviation units descended on the crash site, divers discovered the five passengers still strapped into their harnesses inside the submerged helicopter. Nigro said the East River had currents of five MPH and waters below 40 degrees at the time.

"The five people besides the pilot were all tightly harnessed, so these harnesses had to be cut and removed in order to get these folks off this helicopter, which was upside down at the time and completely submerged," Nigro said.



#5 chris pochari

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 07:05

1:19 on this video shows no connector in the front of the harness, I've used a roofing harness very similar to the one they use and if the connector is on the front, it's easy to remove, but still nothing like a seatbelt click, if the connector is in the back, it's harder to remove yourself. 1:29 in the video shows the harness connector in the back



#6 chris pochari

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 07:21



#7 Nearly Retired

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 09:32

Normal seatbelts are designed to release even when the straps are under tension.  So my question then is: Does the harness offer the same capability?  Does NYON use carabiners or something similar?  I'm assuming that the pax were upside down and putting tension on the harness while they were trying to get it undone?



#8 RagMan

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 17:06

As I'm near certain a initial safety briefing was accomplished by either office staff/ground crew/pilot before takeoff, I wonder if, during the final moments of the auto, the passengers were instructed by the pilot to ready the release of their harness mechanism or at the minimum have the harness cutters out and ready prior to making contact to the water. I feel like last minute instructions to do either one of those two things, whether the aircraft was going to sink or stay upright, could have potentially saved lives. The fact that all 5 passengers drowned while still hooked into their harnesses leads me to believe that did not take place.

 

And yes, I'm familiar with HUET training. Did mine down at Rucker years ago. 


Edited by RagMan, 12 March 2018 - 18:03.

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#9 chris pochari

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 20:25

According to people on instagram Flynyon uses a harness which cannot be removed by oneself. Someone would need to confirm if that is true.



#10 Eric Hunt

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 22:00

Would that be a design to prevent suicide? Like the harnesses/belts/allover suits worn on bridge climbs and on building balconies?



#11 chris pochari

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 22:01

Would that be a design to prevent suicide? Like the harnesses/belts/allover suits worn on bridge climbs and on building balconies?

not sure, they need to balance the fall risk with the ability to free your self during an emergency, which is a tough call.



#12 mike0331

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 22:10

If that's the case, I'd expect they are gonna get killed in a lawsuit. It would make sense since apparently they had to be cut out. All the harnesses we had in armored vehicles overseas could be removed easily by the user or another in half a second. 

 

Mike


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#13 chris pochari

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 22:18

If that's the case, I'd expect they are gonna get killed in a lawsuit. It would make sense since apparently they had to be cut out. All the harnesses we had in armored vehicles overseas could be removed easily by the user or another in half a second. 

 

Mike

This guy explains the harness situation at 1:20, maverick stopped using harnesses, good for them

 



#14 takefootoff

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 22:24

Chuckie Schumer wants liberty operating license to be suspended?

Politician wants to be relevant

#15 mike0331

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 22:28

The gunner harnesses we had went over your shoulders and had a central strap that went down to right below the turret (prevented ejection during IED blast). We still had a twist release on the center buckle. We practiced getting out of these in rollover simulators and it was stupid easy to free yourself or someone else. Have never done HUET/HOST, and I'm sure water, especially cold water adds another dimension. That said, when I see that NOBODY got out and hear that they needed to cut them out I revert to thinking the harnesses were jacked up... but maybe I'm wrong. 

 

Chuck Shumer sucks. 

 

Mike



#16 r22butters

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 23:34

So I guess then that no one has thought of a switch the pilot could flip in the event of an emergency that disconnects all harnesses from the helicopter at once?

,...considering that most "photographers" are not thinking, today I might die and are thus not trained in emergency proceedures, nor even pondering the question, maybe I should ask how to get out of this thing, just in case,...?
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Well after fifteen and a half years they finally went from saying "the pilot shortage is coming", to "the pilot shortage is here!"  Yep, 2018, year of the pilot shortage!  

 

,...didn't seem that big a shortage though?  In fact if you blinked, you'd of missed it,...me, I was out taking a wiz,...dammit!  :lol:


#17 chris pochari

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 23:41

So I guess then that no one has thought of a switch the pilot could flip in the event of an emergency that disconnects all harnesses from the helicopter at once?

Actually a really good idea, patent it



#18 Bonzo828

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 09:43

There will be multiple lawsuits from this and probably new legislation / rules governing the use of these types of harnesses.  


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"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it" - The only thing we can control is our attitude.


#19 mike0331

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 10:29

This just seems like such an obvious thing not to do.

 

Article from passenger/journalist on accompanying helicopter
http://www.thedrive....&utm_content=V1

 

Mike



#20 takefootoff

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 07:27

Oh goodness, a New York Times article calling for all future tour operations to be conducted in twin engine ships.

Hope that idea doesn't catch on.

https://www.nytimes....ightseeing.html





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