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FAA & ACCIDENTS


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hey all. Just a little curious, I was under the impression that after an accident the aircraft is usually impounded by the FAA until things get investigated a little bit more? I was in an accident a few years back and the FAA immediatly released the aircraft to the company I was getting instruction from(they were also close friends with the local FAA "representative" if you will.)This seems a bit strange to me because in the situation of mechanical failure, whos to say that its not a quick fix/cover-up back at the hangar?Does anyone know anymore about this topic

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So what happens in the situation of a mechanical failure?.....the company takes the helicopter back, fixes it, proves it to the FAA and then rules it as pilot error? Not trying to stir anything up but just need a little clarification I guess.

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So what happens in the situation of a mechanical failure?.....the company takes the helicopter back, fixes it, proves it to the FAA and then rules it as pilot error? Not trying to stir anything up but just need a little clarification I guess.

 

The one accident I'm familiar with, the aircraft was a total loss. They put it on a trailer, kept it in the hangar for like a month, and then scrapped it. I'm not too sure what kind of investigating was done other than pilot interviews and a preliminary inspection of the damage.

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Heli-Tek1, in the overall scope of things, most accidents (about 80%) are caused by "Human Factors" commonly called pilot error. Of the remaining 20 % of "Other" causes, mechanical failures are a small percentage.

 

Operators are for the most part concerned about operating airworthy aircraft and making a profit and doing so safely and not having to deal with the stress of an accident, injuries to pax & crew, the loss of revenue, increased insurance premiums, staff changes and associated costs of training.

 

There is a saying in the industry that says "If you think training and maintenance are expensive and costly, try one accident"!

 

I trust that "determining & fixing" the cause of a mechanical failure is not easy to do in any case. Changing parts and altering paperwork is also not so easy in most cases. Can you find a professional to even consider doing this let alone actually doing it?

 

Having said the above, yes, there is probably the rare case of someone that may attempt something like this.

 

Mikemv

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If the NTSB determines the accidnet is worth investigating they will impound the aircraft and keep it until they are done researching it. That can be anywhere form a month to a year. Then they turn it over to the owner, which is often the insurance company in the case of a write off.

 

Typically the NTSB only investigates accidents where there is a fatality, serious injuriries, or if mechancal error is suspected.

If your accident had none of those the NTSB would likely pass on it and the FAA would only investigate to determine if any regulations were violated, not causation.

 

Hope that helps.

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Unless there is a fatality or serious injury, they may not even come to the scene. A flight school I worked at turned a 300 into about 500 separate pieces but there were no injuries. The FAA or NTSB took a statement over the phone and that was the end of it.

Edited by helonorth
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Only the NTSB is tasked with investigating accidents, and they don't have even of a fraction of the resources necessary to investigate every accident. The vast majority are just ignored. It has to be a very serious accident for them to get involved. Generally if there are no serious injuries, the aircraft is the responsibility of the owner, and there is no need for the owner to alter anything because there will be no determination of cause or whose fault it was. Most operators are truly concerned with finding the real cause and preventing future occurrences, so I think altering official documents is very rare, because the benefits are completely outweighed by the bad things that would happen if the alterations were discovered. If there was mechanical failure, the company usually works with the manufacturer(s) to try to find the cause, and prevent it happening again, because accidents are very expensive. It's not necessarily the operator's fault if there is a mechanical failure, and blaming the pilot does no good. I have seen manufacturers try to blame pilots instead of acknowledging responsibility, though. They have a vested interest in averting blame for manufacturing and engineering shortcomings.

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thank you for all of the input guys. The reason I am so concerned with this topic is because they ended up ruling on pilot error to my instructor(saying carb ice was the cause) I remember when we did start up procedures he was going over everything with me and asked me to pull full carb heat, so I did. However the aircraft came from the Silverstate auction and sat for close to a year prior to it being flown to the school.The helicopter ended up being a total loss, as we rolled it over. There was alot of talk as to whether or not it was air worthy prior to us flying it, under the situation that another flight school got a 22 from the auction as well. They had been flying it until someone flew it and told the chief that it was underpowered, he then flew it and came to the conclusion to tare it down, they found a bad cylinder when doing so and concluded it was due to improper storing of the aircraft in the climate it was in. I do not know enough about aircraft engines to know what exactly that meant but just thought it was strange the way it all kind of linked together. I am not trying to whine whatsoever, but am concerned with the way some situations are handled and was just looking for some other input.

Thanks guys

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We had been in the air for around ten minutes, we were about 1100' AGL and lost engine power. My instructor took the controls and we entered an auto. Unfortunatly the field below us had just been tilled and was very soft, as soon as we hit we rolled over. I have flown twice since then in a 44 and am still a bit nervous but the 44 is a much more stable machine than the 22 and am more comfortable flying that.

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Carb heat in the R22 is auto assisted, so as you pull power, the carb heat gets reduced, so once you get into the air, you generally have to re-apply some to keep it out of the yellow. If you applied carb heat before picking up, then forgot about it, then carb ice is a distinct possibility.

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when the FAA did there investigation, the carb heat was found in the 1/2 way position. I did not know that as you applied more power that the carb heat reduced, not enough time in a 22 I guess.

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We had been in the air for around ten minutes, we were about 1100' AGL and lost engine power. My instructor took the controls and we entered an auto. Unfortunatly the field below us had just been tilled and was very soft, as soon as we hit we rolled over. I have flown twice since then in a 44 and am still a bit nervous but the 44 is a much more stable machine than the 22 and am more comfortable flying that.

 

Were you flying a blue R-22 out of Logan Ut, by chance?

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Carb heat in the R22 is auto assisted, so as you pull power, the carb heat gets reduced, so once you get into the air, you generally have to re-apply some to keep it out of the yellow. If you applied carb heat before picking up, then forgot about it, then carb ice is a distinct possibility.

 

Only beta IIs have carb heat assist

But yes, distinct possiblity if it was a Beta II

What was OAT?

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Carb ice at 25 degrees Celsius with a dew point of 5? It's been a while since I flew pistons but the only time I would have been even remotely worried would have been in a low lower approach. Not cruise like NTSB said.

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However the aircraft came from the Silverstate auction and sat for close to a year prior to it being flown to the school.The helicopter ended up being a total loss, as we rolled it over. There was alot of talk as to whether or not it was air worthy prior to us flying it, under the situation that another flight school got a 22 from the auction as well.

 

 

If I may, I would like to interject something that might be useful. Notice careful use of the word might! Anyway, one of the things that was drilled into my head by my very first instructor, was to take the position of PIC early, and take it seriously. That doesn't mean I knew anything, or what I was doing, but it did mean that from the very beginning I was learning to take on the command role and be responsible for the flights I was taking. We should always ensure airworthiness of any aircraft we are flying. Always check the books! As an instructor I was sure to pass this habit along to my students as well. It was their responsibility to show me the aircraft was airworthy, had time available to fly before required maintenance, etc. I think it was good practice for the instructor too! Anyway, keep that in mind as you take flights in the future, and Im very glad you are ok!

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...the aircraft came from the Silverstate auction and sat for close to a year prior to it being flown to the school...

 

Interesting that you should mention that. I just returned from the RHC Safety Course, where I distinctly remember them saying that, its actually more damaging to a helicopter to have it sit for a long period of time, than to be flown every day.

 

As for that damn carb-heat-assist. It used to put me in the yellow far too many times on upwind (especially when I did a max-takeoff)! These days I just pull it all the way up before I takeoff!

 

I hate automatic crap like that! For that reason, you're better off training in a Beta!

;)

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True that the carb heat assist would lower with more power. However when you lose an engine and drop collective, the carb heat assist would also increase at that point.(Not that it would do any good...but its a mechanical connection).

 

Then when you flared at the end of an auto, the carb heat would again decrease. So basically, unless the carb heat is down and locked, the position it was found in after an accident has little to do with the position it was in during flight.

 

Thats why we have a carb temp gauge (inaccurate as it is, its still an indicator).

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