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How not to fly an R22 at night


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http://www.aopa.org/epilot/redir.cfm?adid=17936

 

If you've got 7 1/2 minutes to spare, you might want to listen to this pilot making all the wrong choices.

 

Especially poignant since today is the anniversary of a fatal, at night, R22 crash in LA.

 

Fly safe,

 

Goldy

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Very good story and worth listening to. I read a similar story about an airplane pilot that took off in good weather yet knew he was flying into poor weather, continued VFR in very poor visibility in mountainous terrain, had a couple of options to get out but didn't. He continued on and did not make it. He crashed and was killed on impact.

 

I do not know what drives a person to go into very poor conditions and continue into possibly worse conditions. But it happens and there are statistics to prove it. Sometimes they are lucky and make it like the guy on the audio, and sometimes they try and don't make it like the airplane pilot I read about.

 

Don’t take the chance on flying in poor weather. Wait for another day and live to talk about it!!

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When in doubt, chicken out. This guy knew better from takeoff- if not before- and let his desire for something wish him into a whole world of trouble. That's delusional.

If you start thinking "I need...", "I want...", "If only ... or "'X' is so close", what you're really saying to yourself is "I screwed up, I shouldn't be here, this is dangerous I should land NOW!" and do so. Sometimes, survival is all you're going to get- take it. Survival might mean you sacrifice the airframe. Do so if it means you live. That is THE DIFFERENCE between military training and civilian- A military pilot knows the aircraft is secondary to the mission.

Down is a very serious direction at night, low level, in reduced vis. Go that way only if you have absolutely no other choice. You've cocked the pistol and put the muzzle in your mouth if you have to descend to reestablish surface contact- if anything at all goes wrong, you're not going to survive. If you live though that, LAND! you've used up your second chance.

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Wow, that was uhhh, wicked.

It's already been a year since the R22 in LA crash? Amazing how time flies. Seems like that was just a few months ago.

:(

 

 

Not only has it been a year, but the factual report is out. And it's a little upsetting. Especially this part :

 

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL

 

The County of Los Angeles Department of the Coroner performed an autopsy on the pilot. The FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing; the specimens tested negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol. The pilot's body was consumed by fire. According to the Corner, embedded in the pilot's left hand was a thermally destroy cellular telephone.

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Thanks for posting Goldy. Good listen. Lets try and meet up at the Expo, what days are you attending?

 

 

Hosh- I should be there Sun, Mon Tues. I havent taken a look at the schedule to see if anything worthwhile is happening sooner. I only live an hour away, so no prob getting down there.

 

 

 

"I screwed up, I shouldn't be here, this is dangerous I should land NOW!" -Wally

 

Wally- so true. We have a saying in the construction business...sometimes the best project is the one that you DON'T get !!

 

In flying, sometimes your BEST flights are the ones that you DONT take !!

 

Fly Safe,

 

Goldy

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What strikes me, as well as the string of one bad decision after another, is that neither this guy or his instructor was voicing doubts. How many times does he say "I knew this was a bad idea, but I didn't say anything." Is it because he trusts his instructor THAT much? Is it because he doesn't want to look like he's scared? Somehow it seems like having two of them there made it easier to rationalize some really bad choices.

 

To paraphrase MN Heli Flyer's tagline -- if you think you're doing something stupid -- you are. :o

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neither this guy or his instructor was voicing doubts. How many times does he say "I knew this was a bad idea, but I didn't say anything."

 

HVG- It's a guy thing, you wouldn't understand !!

 

Seriously though...probably a dose of macho mixed in with a blind faith in the guy next to you.

 

 

 

Jess- your call was the first I had heard of the cellphone found in the pilots left hand. Amazing that as a new pilot he would feel that comfortable. Like I told you though, I hate those wires in the daytime, I would (and do !!) fly 2 miles east just to cross them near Compton at night.

 

Lets fly safe,

 

Goldy

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Jess- your call was the first I had heard of the cellphone found in the pilots left hand. Amazing that as a new pilot he would feel that comfortable. Like I told you though, I hate those wires in the daytime, I would (and do !!) fly 2 miles east just to cross them near Compton at night.

 

Lets fly safe,

 

Goldy

 

Now, thinking about this it makes me wonder if maybe he survived the impact but was incapacitated? Maybe he was able to get his cell phone but that was it before... well, you know. Seems unlikely (but possible) that a solo private low time pilot would have been playing with his cell phone while flying through that airspace...at night. It also seems unlikely that through the wire impact AND the ground impact that the phone wouldn't have been knocked from his hand?

 

I would hope that was the case over him playing with his cell phone and causing the accident but only God knows.

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Not only has it been a year, but the factual report is out. And it's a little upsetting. Especially this part :

 

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL

 

The County of Los Angeles Department of the Coroner performed an autopsy on the pilot. The FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing; the specimens tested negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol. The pilot's body was consumed by fire. According to the Corner, embedded in the pilot's left hand was a thermally destroy cellular telephone.

 

 

The weather in the accident a year ago as stated in the NTSB report are winds 3 knots at 100 visibility 10 and clear skies. Certainly different conditions than the audio above.

 

A real tragedy and should be remembered. Prayers to the family of this pilot. I am sure it is still very much on their minds.

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The weather in the accident a year ago as stated in the NTSB report are winds 3 knots at 100 visibility 10 and clear skies. Certainly different conditions than the audio above.

 

A real tragedy and should be remembered. Prayers to the family of this pilot. I am sure it is still very much on their minds.

 

Sure, you bet, two totally different incidents and conditions. Just both were in an R22 at night, and I got the email with the link on the anniversary of the other accident....just made me think about it and post it.

 

I know its selfish at best, but I'm glad I didnt know the LA pilot. I'm sure its still very difficult for family and friends.

 

 

Fly safe,

 

Goldy

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Sure, you bet, two totally different incidents and conditions. Just both were in an R22 at night, and I got the email with the link on the anniversary of the other accident....just made me think about it and post it.

 

I know its selfish at best, but I'm glad I didnt know the LA pilot. I'm sure its still very difficult for family and friends.

 

 

Fly safe,

 

Goldy

 

 

I only knew him a little, and it still hits me pretty bad. I think it mostly hurts me because of how close to home (Same flight school, same helicopter, same certificates etc). Either way, I still pray for him and his family everytime I think about the accident. And It still comes into my mind a lot.

 

 

As for saying the cell phone would have been knocked from his hand? Well, the report says at some point that day he made 18 phone calls, in a 2 hour time span. As well as that.. the accident happened very quickly. Pretty good chance he was killed on impact, which meant he had to have had the cell in his hand. Even if he didn't die instantly when he hit the ground, the helicopter burst into flames rather quickly. A good chance he was screwing with his phone in some way, had it in his hand, when it happened, he probably tensed his body including his hand and not knowingly held onto the cell.

 

But it's all speculation. Will have to wait until the probably cause comes out.

 

Either way, it's something I will remember forever, and I remember a lot during the course of a year. It probably will remain that way for the rest of my life. I feel so terrible for his family, and I wish them the best.

 

If anything, this brings up the thought.. Please, when you are flying, you are flying. We all have our problems, our thoughts and everything... But when you step in the cockpit, your baggage needs to be checked at the door.

 

Whatever happens in your life, it can wait until you (and maybe your passangers) have both feet safely on the ground.

 

Fly safe everyone.

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Seems unlikely (but possible) that a solo private low time pilot would have been playing with his cell phone while flying through that airspace...at night

 

He made a lot of bad decisions.

 

1. It didn't sound like he passed his I AM SAFE checklist. It seems like something was bothering him.

2. The flight was planned to be dual, but instead went solo.

3. Low time, went flying late at night

4. Flew into bravo airspace, at night, being low time.

5. Flew into bravo, at night when runways were changed, and flight altitude was required to be lowered.

6. Instead of telling the ATC he wasn't comfortable flying that low in an unfamiliar area, during an unfamiliar situation he accepted the altitude.

 

 

 

There was a lot of mistakes that lead up to this accident. Maybe he had the "It won't happen to me" state of mind or he was too comfortable flying? We'll never know. But we can atleast learn from this mistake. He left us all with a very valuable lesson

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He made a lot of bad decisions.

 

1. It didn't sound like he passed his I AM SAFE checklist. It seems like something was bothering him.

2. The flight was planned to be dual, but instead went solo.

3. Low time, went flying late at night

4. Flew into bravo airspace, at night, being low time.

5. Flew into bravo, at night when runways were changed, and flight altitude was required to be lowered.

6. Instead of telling the ATC he wasn't comfortable flying that low in an unfamiliar area, during an unfamiliar situation he accepted the altitude.

 

 

 

There was a lot of mistakes that lead up to this accident. Maybe he had the "It won't happen to me" state of mind or he was too comfortable flying? We'll never know. But we can atleast learn from this mistake. He left us all with a very valuable lesson

 

Agreed

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4. Flew into bravo airspace, at night, being low time.

5. Flew into bravo, at night when runways were changed, and flight altitude was required to be lowered.

6. Instead of telling the ATC he wasn't comfortable flying that low in an unfamiliar area, during an unfamiliar situation he accepted the altitude.

 

For the benefit of readers not familiar with LA airspace, you can fly under the Class B just 2 or 3 miles east of the accident site and fly in it all the way to your destination airport (TOA). In fact, he came from the east, and had to fly out of his way to get into Class B. Just never made sense to me, why not cut the corner?

 

Maybe he thought he was more familiar with the Class B route as it follows a major freeway?

 

Like Jess says, we will never know all the answers, but even a slight distraction would get you in trouble. I believe you have to be about 300MSL to clear the wires, and the LAX restriction would have been 400MSL....not much room for errors.

 

Fly Safe,

 

Goldy

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For the benefit of readers not familiar with LA airspace, you can fly under the Class B just 2 or 3 miles east of the accident site and fly in it all the way to your destination airport (TOA). In fact, he came from the east, and had to fly out of his way to get into Class B. Just never made sense to me, why not cut the corner?

 

Maybe he thought he was more familiar with the Class B route as it follows a major freeway?

 

Like Jess says, we will never know all the answers, but even a slight distraction would get you in trouble. I believe you have to be about 300MSL to clear the wires, and the LAX restriction would have been 400MSL....not much room for errors.

 

Fly Safe,

 

Goldy

 

I concur with Goldy. It was not the best airmanship to choose to fly over the 110 on that night. To complicate matters further, as soon as he's out of LAX Class B he had to dial-in Hawthorne's tower frequency - until I read the factual I suspected that he got distracted when he was setting the radio.

 

I'm still shocked about him holding a cell phone in that flight situation.

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I concur with Goldy. It was not the best airmanship to choose to fly over the 110 on that night. To complicate matters further, as soon as he's out of LAX Class B he had to dial-in Hawthorne's tower frequency - until I read the factual I suspected that he got distracted when he was setting the radio.

 

I'm still shocked about him holding a cell phone in that flight situation.

 

 

See that's what I thought. He's low time, maybe didn't hold his altitude perfectly, and reached over to change the station and lost altitude. But then when I read the preliminary and it was mentioned that he was having trouble with his Bose headset.. I thought, maybe he was fiddling with that. When I read the factual, my heart dropped to my stomach when I saw there was a cell in his hand.

 

It's such a shame. It really is. I pray a lot for his family. I can't even imagine the pain this is causing them.

 

 

 

PS R22 Driver.. When are you going to be california? I remember you saying you didn't live here, but you visit? Let me know.

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On the original subject- a two pilot crew is easily an issue, especially if you have an instructor in the other seat. Two pilots is a committee, and committee entropy has lots of inertia against action and results in decisions at the lowest common denominator. Determine who's to be PIC as part of your preflight planning and do not change that in flight. PIC is not the same thing as 'pilot flying'.

The PIC's the one that ultimately will be assigned responsibility, so makes the final decisions. If you can't work this out agreeably before flying, don't go. This process opens up communication, nobody's confused as to what's expected of them. It acts like the process of transferring the controls: "I've got the aircraft"...

Having an instructor aboard nominally as other than PIC makes this process harder but even more important. The CFI's actions are going to be especially closely scrutinized, no matter what, and that requires consideration.

In the end, your responsibility as a flight crew member requires you take it seriously, assume nothing and speak up when an issue comes to your attention.

Edited by Wally
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Very good point Wally.

 

Noticed the term marginal night VFR came up a lot in that clip. The word marginal in the aviation weather sense should always be a major red flag to pilots. If I hear others use the term in regards to night flying, my ears pick up and I begin to re-evaluate my plan. If I use the words marginal night VFR and catch myself doing it, I give myself a good smack!

 

Marginal Night VFR is one of those aviation myths that's been around for decades. It doesn't really exist, it's true name is Instrument Meteorological Conditions. However the weather conditions, poor as they may be, still legally allow VFR traffic to operate too.

 

Unless you're an IFR rated pilot in an IFR certified machine I'd think long and hard about launching in marginal night weather. Odds are very good that you'll either go IIMC or need a pop-up IFR clearance enroute. And if you haven't done it, going IIMC is a horror you do not want to experience.

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PS R22 Driver.. When are you going to be california? I remember you saying you didn't live here, but you visit? Let me know.

 

I was actually back in SoCal the week before Christmas and got a chance to fly around quite a bit. I might be back in the US on business towards the end of Feb. I'll let you know.

 

BTW, the JJ guys had a baby few months ago.

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I was actually back in SoCal the week before Christmas and got a chance to fly around quite a bit. I might be back in the US on business towards the end of Feb. I'll let you know.

 

BTW, the JJ guys had a baby few months ago.

 

 

Hitomi had a baby!?! I have to call her and congratulate her, how awesome!!

 

Yes, please let me know when you're back!

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I was actually back in SoCal the week before Christmas and got a chance to fly around quite a bit. I might be back in the US on business towards the end of Feb. I'll let you know.

 

Who gave you permission to fly in my airspace ???

 

Seriously, you should let a couple of us know when youre going to be in town...we TRY to accomodate visiting helo pilots !

 

Goldy

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