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AS350 Accident Pilot walks away AMAZING


B-Hill
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Wire strike, from the article:

 

"Witness Jason Aarsen said the helicopter was using a cable to erect a ladder. As the helicopter came down the cable went slack and the rear rotor blade clipped it."

 

Unbelievable, his seat failed and was half out the cockpit as it spun around. Glad to see he walked away with some help.

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Article says the TR caught a cable...Amazing that he was not hurt!

 

"Witness Jason Aarsen said the helicopter was using a cable to erect a ladder. As the helicopter came down the cable went slack and the rear rotor blade clipped it."

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http://tvnz.co.nz/na...harbour-4560847

 

Enlarge this link to full screen and you can see a dangling cable hitting the main rotor. Look between the black lattuce tower and the helo. It appears that it was the lifting cable and it was still attached to the helicopter hook and the structure.

 

 

 

 

 

Some still photos and a slo-mo video

http://www.stuff.co....ter-crash#share

 

http://www.stuff.co....land-waterfront

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Sort of similar accident happened in Switzerland on 11.8.

They were shooting a car scene for a movie (see the nose mount) and the pilot flew a bit too close to the wall.

The pilot, with 3800h, who flew the AStar was about 15 feet above the road when the blades touched the wall, and the outcome is in the picture.

The pilot and three others were on board, two ended up in the Hospital, the others walked away.

 

http://www.blick.ch/unterhaltung/tv/heli-crash-bei-sf-dreh-186450

HB4ryscL_Pxgen_r_900x672.jpg

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Wire strike, from the article:

 

"Witness Jason Aarsen said the helicopter was using a cable to erect a ladder. As the helicopter came down the cable went slack and the rear rotor blade clipped it."

 

Unbelievable, his seat failed and was half out the cockpit as it spun around. Glad to see he walked away with some help.

 

Glad the pilot looks ok. I find the pilot's seat sheering of its mounts particularly disturbing. Anyone seen this before with the 350?

 

The old fiberglass seats have been known to fail even under fairly gentle impact loads

 

 

Accident Report:

AS350B2, G-OROZ; 21 January 2001 at approximately 1521hrs

 

Front Seats

 

Both front seats had detached from the floor in the impact. Rescuers found the pilot still in his seat, lying across the rear seat occupants. It was evident that both front occupants had been thrown forward and to the right when their seats became detached. There was evidence that the pilot had been thrown against the cyclic stick and the instrument panel and his head had struck the door frame.

 

The front seats were the standard, original fit AS350 high-backed seat which is entirely of a moulded fibreglass construction. The seats were identified with part number 77125805 on the seat back. The shoulder harness inertia reel unit is attached at the bottom of the seat back. Longitudinal steel strips located on either side of the base of the seat pan allow the seat to be bolted to the 'C' section seat rails. The seat rails are locked in place in the cabin floor by turnbuckles which locate in slots in the bottom flange of the seat rails.

 

Both front seats had failed in a different manner on each side of the seat. The seat rails had torn out of the base of the pilot's seat, leaving the seat rails still attached to the cabin floor. The right side of the seat base had failed extensively due to vertical compression loading. The left side of the seat base was largely undamaged, except where the fibreglass had sheared around the periphery of the seat rail attachment due to tension loading.

 

The right side of the front passenger's seat base had failed the same manner as the right side of the pilot's seat base. On the left side, the entire seat rail had pulled out of the cabin floor due to the slots in the seat rail having been distorted sufficiently to allow the seat rail to become released from the turnbuckles. The outer section of the rear slot had failed in overloading and was missing. The seat rails were fitted with 'L' shaped brackets which overlapped the outer edges of the slots and were designed to limit the extent to which the slots could open up, but this proved ineffective due to the slots having experienced significant vertical as well as lateral distortion.

 

The failure of the front seat bases was inconsistent with the relative lack of damage to the cabin and in particular the cabin floor. Similar failures of the seat rail attachments at the seat base and the cabin floor attachment were seen in a previous fatal accident to an AS350 helicopter with the same type of seats (AAIB Accident Report 4/96 refers). The seats have also been known to fail even under fairly gentle impact loads, as reported in AAIB Bulletin 1/2001 in which an AS355 helicopter made a forced landing on the roof of a house and in which the occupants sustained no injuries.

 

Although the AS350 fibreglass front seats met the crashworthiness testing requirements applicable at the time that the helicopter was certificated in 1978, subsequent experience proved these requirements to be inadequate. Accordingly in 1989 the FAR Amendment 25 regulations revised the certification loading requirements upwards considerably. The same requirements are reflected in JAR 27.561:

 

Seats designed to the latest specifications which are installed on the current generation of new helicopters by necessity have a substantial metal frame to enable them to meet the new design criteria. These seats are available as a customer-specified option on the AS350B3 which is the latest variant of the AS350.

 

Eurocopter Lettre Service No. 1424-25-99 was issued in November 1999 to advise operators that the new crashworthy seats could be retrofitted to earlier variants of the AS350 under an optional Service Bulletin (SB No. 25.00.57) issued in May 1999. In view of the cost and time involved (6 man-weeks) to perform this modification, it is unlikely that many operators would have opted for the improvement, particularly if they had been unaware of the deficiencies of the fibreglass seats.

 

Lettre Service No. 1424-25-99 also recommended that operators who opted not to install the new crashworthy seats should modify their fibreglass seats in accordance with Eurocopter SB No. 25.00.63, issued in 1999. This SB was issued in response to the Safety Recommendations made in previously mentioned AAIB Formal Report 4/96. The SB adds 4 additional plies of fibreglass to the lower seat pan and introduces new 'T' section seat rails. The SB is recommended by Eurocopter but has not been made mandatory by the DGAC or CAA.

 

EASA Safety Information Bulletin - Eurocopter AS350 and AS355 helicopters - Improvement of Pilot’s and Co-pilot’s Seats

 

tesy.jpg

 

 

New Generation Seat:

NewGenerationSeat.jpg

Edited by iChris
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The old fiberglass seats have been known to fail even under fairly gentle impact loads

 

 

 

I have read somewhere that its important to wear the shoulder straps with the old style seats. If I remember correctly it said something about spreading the load out so not just the lap belt is taking it all putting more stress on the seat mounts. I can't find any info on that though. It looks like he might not have had them on, thats common when slinging. Its hard to tell for sure though. Glad he is ok that was a violent ride for sure. Also kudo's to the ground crew! Its amazing it didnt catch fire, Astars are know for that too.

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Interview with the pilot was just on the news here. He was showing them around the wreckage. Seat was "old style" as shown in iChris post. Looks like the seat mounts have been torn out of the fiberglass seat. Lap belt is still attached to cabin floor, which kept him inside the cockpit (more or less). No mention of shoulder any shoulder harness.

Edited by lelebebbel
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He appears to be aware of the cable and actually looks up at it twice as if he was spot checking it moments before it got wrapped up.

 

From my rookie point of view that looks like total pilot error - am I wrong?

It looks to me that the rotor blades hit one of the guy wires on the tower.

 

The rotors contacted the longline connected to the cargo hook. The other end is connected to the top end of the tower he was lifting. Go to full screen mode to see the line. The pilot was clear of the guide wires.

 

It appears the pilot intended to lower the line just above the clear zone to release the line from the hook. Note the ground crewmember under the helicopter; he’s waiting for the line so he can pull the line clear.

 

If you note in one of the videos that ground crewmember starts to reach for the line then jumps-up and grabs the line, taking up the slack, thereby pulling the line into the rotors.

 

The timing between when the ground crewmember jumped-up and pulled the line and the pilot releasing the line was off. The line mechanically hanging-up in the hook on release may have also been a factor. Had the ground crewmember waited until the pilot flew the line all the way down into his hands and released the line or had the pilot released earlier, the line would have remained clear of the rotors. Coordination between pilot and ground crew is important.

 

Moreover, sometimes the lightweight of an unloaded synthetic longline that is not fully extended will not allow it to overcome the hooks return-spring tension and the line will remain attached after the release button is pushed. This has caused problems when the pilot forgets to clear the hook using his mirror. Attaching a larger shackle at the hook end to add weight also helps.

 

Another pitfall is the hook-release arming switch left in the safe position. If a hook operational check is not done before the sling operation starts, the switch position may go unverified and be a big surprise if an emergency release is needed.

 

The videos are continually updated so it’s hard to fine the right shot; however, there is one that highlights the crewmember below the helicopter jumping-up and grabbing the line.

 

Emergency services and witnesses talk about the helicopter crash at Auckland's Viaduct harbour

 

Shows ground crewmember jumping to grab longline (Video time 03:22)

 

 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6023078/Chopper-crash-pilot-examines-wreckage

Edited by iChris
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I have read somewhere that its important to wear the shoulder straps with the old style seats. If I remember correctly it said something about spreading the load out so not just the lap belt is taking it all putting more stress on the seat mounts. I can't find any info on that though. It looks like he might not have had them on, thats common when slinging. Its hard to tell for sure though. Glad he is ok that was a violent ride for sure. Also kudo's to the ground crew! Its amazing it didnt catch fire, Astars are know for that too.

 

Unlike the Bell 206B, 206L, 407, or MD 500 that have both shoulder straps and lap belts hard-pointed to the center bulkhead and seat deck (airframe) respectfully, the AS350’s shoulder straps are attached to the back of the fiberglass seat (see seat photo above). The pilot/co-pilot lap belts are the only front restraints hard-pointed to the airframe. If the seat goes so too the shoulder harness assembly.

 

As a side note, you should wear the shoulder straps during sling work. However, many like myself do not due to old bad habits. Do as we say, not as we do.

Edited by iChris
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Unlike the Bell 206B, 206L, 407, or MD 500 that have both shoulder straps and lap belts hard-pointed to the center bulkhead and seat deck (airframe) respectfully, the AS350’s shoulder straps are attached to the back of the fiberglass seat (see seat photo above). The pilot/co-pilot lap belts are the only front restraints hard-pointed to the airframe. If the seat goes so too the shoulder harness assembly.

 

As a side note, you should wear the shoulder straps during sling work. However, many like myself do not due to old bad habits. Do as we say, not as we do.

 

I am familiar with the seat belts in the Astar. In the article I read it said even though the shoulder straps arent attached to the airframe it still helps spread the load. I will do some digging and see if I can find it. I understand what you are sayng and not arguing. Just going off of memory. Like I said earlier it could have been much worse.

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