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Rotortramp last won the day on February 14 2013

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  1. Just ran across this channel on vimeo about reenactments of various plane crashes (some with CVR's). It's a great learning tool to the risks that many of us face flying and to always be on guard. This particular video is of a R44 that crashed and how the fuel take ruptured killing all 4 occupants on board. The helicopter was over gross and departing down wind in a high density altitude environment. Eyewitness reports said the helicopter was buffeting back and forth and subsequently hit the ground fracturing the transmission (which ruptured the fuel tank). The video doesn't explain it at all, but I'm curious as if anyone has a more detailed explanation as to why the helicopter would buffet back and forth so bad. The details of being overweight, high density altitude, and flying downwind (16kts) all contribute, but I'd be interested on how they all came together.
  2. I'd like to keep the discussion going and propose a more extreme example: The tour operator has skipped inspections (annual, 100 hour) and hasn't done an overhaul in years on their multiple turbine jetrangers.
  3. So I'm sure many of you have been in situations when things don't seem right. The OP in the post about checking the fuel mentioned that some tour company was flying a helicopter with a busted fuel gauge for an extended period of time (I believe over a year). Say you are in that situation: You have 750 hours, just landed a turbine job (or any job for that matter), think everything looks good, and then things start to reveal themselves. In this case the fuel gauge is broken and the owner doesn't want to fix it. Sure, the fuel is a time equation, but you are violating the MEL. As the pilot in command your butt is going to be on the line when the helicopter runs out of fuel unintentionally and have to auto to someones backyard. So its a no win situation since you are either out of a job, or will potentially lose your license/life. So what do you do? You've been out of work for so long and finally landed a turbine job. Do you walk away cold turkey? Is there anything you can do as a whistle blower with the FAA? I certainly feel that if you can blatantly display that the FARs/law is being broken, acting as the pilot in command you need to do something, but what? What about if you are an instructor with 250 hours and your school starts to stretch the rules and you have no other options? Again, it seems any way you look at it, its a lose/lose situation. Either you walk away (no job), report them (no job), or say you aren't flying until its fixed (no job), or just go fly and close your eyes until the nightmare is over.
  4. I'm curious to your second point that if an operator is breaking the FAR's/Law would you should do as a pilot.
  5. Chris, I just want to point out that nobody has looked at the helicopter from the school's maintenance department. There is actually an equally as old R22 owned by the school, but this other one came in out of the blue without any sort of inspection by anyone. I think the maintenance here is great and I'm not doubting them at all since I feel comfortable flying a helicopter with equivalent time and age, however the two helicopters are very different when you look at them more closely. I guess I'm doubting the maintenance department of where this helicopter came from and what its real history is. If it was inspected and looked over as one would do with a 100 hour and signed off, I would feel much more comfortable. The fact that it just got brought in from two unknowns and is considered perfectly fine to fly is questionable in my mind. As most recommend, it goes along the lines of when people say to check out the equipment and the maintenance of the school you want to fly at. I did that many months ago and their own personal helicopter is great, and their maintenance is in house and apparently has a good reputation. However, now I'm flying one that is extremely ragged out without any connection to the school's maintenance. Decisions Decisions.
  6. That's exactly how I feel. The stretch I make between safety and succeeding. Perhaps the question should be asked if I'm cut out for it if I can't handle a rough robbie, but then I immediately think well why should I if I'm the one paying for it.
  7. I completely agree, that's where I don't know if I'm just being a baby or not.
  8. Pokey, they very well could of used some sort of anti corrosive coating to keep everything nice underneath. The issue is, is that I don't know and nobody else seems keen to find out, unless it is in the logs somewhere. I think the main overlying issue I have is that it was just dropped off by two people nobody knows that well. They could be excellent caretakers or the absolute worst. Considering that the general condition of the helicopter can be categorized as beat, I am assuming the worst; especially being as cautious as I am. Combine that with the environment that it came from and having already been wrecked before puts me over the edge to say "no" and stick to my guns. As mentioned before though, this likely means I don't fly, which will start to anger everyone else, since its a go go go type of school. Quite the predicament, make my potential employer and fellow coworkers happy, or err on the side of caution.
  9. I just did some digging and the helicopter in question got wrecked pretty bad.
  10. I think its of the attitude of looking at any bolt that is slightly off color and asking the question "is that bolt ok"? I think it just elicits the automatic response of "yea it looks fine".
  11. Chris, I don't recall the actual condition of the pitch link (hopefully I describe the names of the parts accurately). It was the bolt that was holding the link on the ball joint pictured above. The head of that bolt looked brown and if my memory serves me correctly looked something like this (in terms of color): That may be incorrect as I just remember pointing out and saying "hey that looks kind of brown". So is that bolt going anywhere? Most likely not, but if you start to spin in rapidly, throw in some turbulence, and have it be constantly under load, I then start to think, I'm not sure.
  12. Thanks everyone for your responses. If you look at the helicopter piece by piece there is nothing that would make it unairworthy per say, it is just the overall feel you get from looking at it. In regards to the torque stripes, I tend to think of it in terms of "if it wasn't important they wouldn't put them on there". So if they are burned off or broken in anyway, if people just disregard them and make sure they are finger tight, then I guess I don't understand why the checklists asks for them. But again, I'm the first to admit I'm inexperienced, and the nature of helicopters makes me want to make sure everything is right before I leave the ground. Also, I'm not sure of the actual maintenance schedule. I've just heard the phrase "90 hours out from overhaul and we are going to fly that time off". On a side note also, I feel like I'm spending good money, and the fact that I'm going to be flying the run down and timed out helicopters of others, doesn't exactly feel right. When I first flew there the helicopters looked nice and were well kept, but as you can see they are combining maintenance with the training and using helicopters just on a leaseback.
  13. I just wanted to see what everyone's thoughts were on flying a particular helicopter. I'm still new to everything and it would be great to fly brand new equipment, but I know that's not always the case or practical. I don't want to be overly cautious, as I've already developed that name for myself, but I don't want to let things slide that could be potentially hazardous. It has had a thorough preflight and flies, which I know doesn't say much. In my gut it feels like the school just acquired an old used Buick, and who knows what the history is or what is lurking on the inside. Maybe the school and chief pilot know exactly where it came from and who they are dealing with, but I feel like this thing could have been oversped on on the daily and nobody would be the wiser. I'd like to open the discussion and see what everyone thinks. Maybe I'm just being too picky for being a bottom rung student. I'm wide open to that, I just don't have enough experience to really feel out when something isn't right.
  14. The report mentions minor injuries, which usually is indicative of bruising, scratches, whiplash, etc. I'd imagine they were able to walk away, so this was by definition a good landing. If they repair the bird and use it again, some may even call this a great landing!
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