Jump to content

R44 explodes in Corona


Goldy

Recommended Posts

R44 caught fire near the fuel pumps at Corona airport last night. R44 destroyed by fire, pilot deceased.

 

Crash, re-fueling?

 

Also reportedly IFR last night....I know it sure was in Los Angeles.

 

added link....

 

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/inland_empire&id=8898171

Edited by Goldy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

R44 caught fire near the fuel pumps at Corona airport last night. R44 destroyed by fire, pilot deceased.

 

Crash, re-fueling?

 

Also reportedly IFR last night....I know it sure was in Los Angeles.

 

added link....

 

http://abclocal.go.c...pire&id=8898171

 

Couple reports saying it "exploded".

 

Prelim report:

 

IDENTIFICATION

Regis#: UNK Make/Model: HELO Description: ROBINSON HELICOPTER

Date: 11/26/2012 Time: 0708

 

Event Type: Accident Highest Injury: Fatal Mid Air: N Missing: N

Damage: Destroyed

 

LOCATION

City: CORONA State: CA Country: US

 

DESCRIPTION

ROBINSON HELICOPTER, REGISTRATION UNKNOWN, STRUCK A CANOPY AT A FUEL STATION AND EXPLODED, THE 1 PERSON ON BOARD WAS FATALLY INJURED, CORONA, CA

 

 

Sounds like it struck the fueling station while still airborne.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, so I posted a new topic on this as I didn't see this one. The FAA is now saying the R-44 was trying to land near the fuel pumps when the main rotor struck something. Part of the main rotor was found in a near by hangar. It then exploded.

 

The airport doesn't like helicopters to refuel there at the fuel pumps. This I know from my instructing days in L.A.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That sucks. I've always considered the airports to be my safe zone (aside from other aircraft). Goes to show even the seemingly familiar places can be fatal.

 

BTW, the fog was really dense in OC last night as well. Wonder if that played any role in it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most parts of the airport are designed for airplanes in mind. Most fuel pumps have tall poles, signs, flags, you name it all around it. It is quite a hazard positioning a helicopter around many parts of the airport. Even more so the fuel pumps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sad news

 

Very sad, it looked like a collision at very low altitude.....

 

He was an attorney in OC. I don't think they have made the name public yet, so I won't mention it.

 

I was just thinking last night that they need to paint a stripe away from the pumps where a Jet Ranger can safely refuel. Just a line with an H.....then we should all know how far off that line we should be. (22's, 44's, 300's, 350's, 206JR all could center up on the line and be safe). Bigger ships with longer blades would have to mark some distance off that line. (205, 212, 214, 230's, etc.)

 

Sometimes it's hard to judge, especially how far the blade travels on the side of the ship.

 

Will be curious though what caused the actual "explosion".

 

RIP,

 

Goldy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Echoing what previous posters have stated, a tragic outcome. Working into the fuel pumps in most of the places I have flow RW is an exercise in caution. In any of those I refer to, adding in any obscuring weather phenomena whatsoever is sauce for the calamitous goose.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My company has a rule that we keep the edge of our rotor disk at least 13ft away from any obstacle taller than 4ft. It tends to leave us ruling out a lot of LZs but by following that rule it should keep us from ever having a main rotor strike. I'm not a huge fan of extra rules but this one saves me from my own (possible) inability to judge distances properly!!

 

That sucks. I've always considered the airports to be my safe zone (aside from other aircraft). Goes to show even the seemingly familiar places can be fatal.

 

My comment below is relating to the above quote, It is not a commentary on the accident that took place, I'm just responding to Aaron;

 

That's exactly right Aaron, I was just doing a safety brief with my crew on this very topic yesterday. Pilots and crews tend to relax a little more while operating in an airport or heliport environment, compared to when they're operating at an unprepared landing site. We're all guilty of it. At those wild sites everyone is super focused on watching out for possible hazards and very much on their game.We're talking to each other about power lines, lamp posts, sign posts, buildings we're landing beside, etc, etc. When you go to a nice flat airport ramp people tend to forget that there are fuel hoses, grounding cables, tie down ropes, heliport & taxiway lights, and many other things that we can catch our skids on. Even something as simple as a joint in a concrete ramp can potentially cause a rollover accident.

 

I guess the safest way to fly is to be terrified of every move you're ever gonna make in an aircraft. Not really but you get what I'm saying.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi This is what I have found from first hand info we fly at and in to corona and knew the pilot, Pilot refueled w 40 gal 100ll picked up into hover and main blade caught roof of fuel Island awning app hover hieght 5 feet ,helicopter came down vertically and it imediatly burst into flames(no fuel bladders) pilot survived and tried to exit but was on fire bystander tried to extinguish but flames were to hot.

 

I'm told theirs a video maybe 2 This will hopefully Awake the FAA to finally turn the fuel bladders SB into a AD I wont fly a R44 unless its equipped with them,Jim B the Pilot was a attorney and leaves behind a wife and son,he could afford the bladder upgrade but didn't have it installed, its just a pesky SB only mandatory if your 135 not part 91.

 

Robinson makes a excellent product I've been flying them for almost 30 years started in 1982, with out the R22 I could of never became a helicopter pilot at the time the risk of flying is worth the reward this pilot made a major mistake, pilots must understand that the R44 is very very safe,but with the fuel bladders your risk of surviving accident is greatly improved, I hope something positive will come out of such a horrible accident!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi This is what I have found from first hand info we fly at and in to corona and knew the pilot, Pilot refueled w 40 gal 100ll picked up into hover and main blade caught roof of fuel Island awning app hover hieght 5 feet ,helicopter came down vertically and it imediatly burst into flames(no fuel bladders) pilot survived and tried to exit but was on fire bystander tried to extinguish but flames were to hot.

 

This is not a fuel bladder issue. It's a "parking-too-close-to-the-fuel-installation" issue. Or maybe it's a "I-can't-hold-a-steady-hover" issue. Or maybe a "a-gust-of-wind-caused-me-to-hit-the-fuel-canopy" issue. Either way, it was not a failure of the helicopter.

 

You know, I'm sorry the guy crashed, and I'm sorry he died. It's awful.

 

But seriously, do you HAVE to park so close? Was the hose THAT short? We're pilots. One of our first priorities is to not hit stuff with our helicopters.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Any ideas as to why the R22 has not had the same fuel bladder SB issued? It's not been without its share of post crash fires.

 

Mike

 

My understanding is that the smaller tanks of the R22 are less likely to rupture in a crash. I think Robinsons explanation is that while there have been post crash fires in R22s, those crashes would have been non-surviveable regardless of the fire.

 

On the other hand, there have been several well documented cases of otherwise survivable crashes in R44s were the occupants were injured or killed by a post crash fire caused by fuel spills.

Here in Australia, Installation of the bladder tanks was made mandatory "as soon as practical but no later than Dec. 2013" for all operators, after 2 people died in an R44 post-crash fire earlier this year.

 

 

This is not a fuel bladder issue. It's a "parking-too-close-to-the-fuel-installation" issue. Or maybe it's a "I-can't-hold-a-steady-hover" issue. Or maybe a "a-gust-of-wind-caused-me-to-hit-the-fuel-canopy" issue. Either way, it was not a failure of the helicopter.

 

You know, I'm sorry the guy crashed, and I'm sorry he died. It's awful.

 

But seriously, do you HAVE to park so close? Was the hose THAT short? We're pilots. One of our first priorities is to not hit stuff with our helicopters.

 

The cause of the accident may have been pilot error, but surely we can demand that a helicopter doesn't burst into flames after crashing from 5ft. Hitting the canopy may be a pilot issue, the pilot burning to death afterwards sounds like a helicopter issue to me.

Edited by lelebebbel
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My understanding is that the smaller tanks of the R22 are less likely to rupture in a crash.

 

That would be by best guess also.

 

I was somewhat on the fence as to whether or not the bladder tank update was worth it, not any more. This accident was definitely survivable, he was trying to exit the aircraft. I feel for the pilots family and the poor soul with the fire extinguisher who tried to help.

 

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks ichris for the info and great pictures, the point here is to get operators and owners to put the bladders in and if your a pilot of a non bladder R44 to inform them that a survivable minor accident can turn deadly and don't think wearing a nomex suit will save you from injury or death in a post fire crash from what I know.

 

Now I want to show ever one a helicopter that is being repaired at the factory this helicopter had just topped of both tanks and had 3 large people 200plus on board it crashed so hard it ripped the landing gear off! (if you look at the corona crash pics you see landing gear still attached)

All three walked away and yes it had the Bladders!!

 

What really scares me is theirs operators doing tours in non-bladder R44s.This is bad for are industry all you guys here love helicopters we need to step up to the plate and do are share to insure we do everything in are power to promote safety. Don't think that a 10,000 hour logged helicopter pilot cant make the same mistake Jim B did they do quite offten.Robinson did make a better fuel tank for its customers and I think the FAA should make it mandatory before anymore people get killed from post fire crashes!

post-10136-0-50582700-1354117686_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ah frick this is rediculious.... don't fly robinson... problem fixed

 

No, not really.. how about we create a bubble helicopter with every direction an airbag so we are safe.. The nanny state promotion on here is killing me... I'm gonna go fly my damn death trap UNTIL it kills me... with no helmet, no airbags, no fuel bladders, no governor... put bladders in your helicopter if you want but don't suggest the government require it... that is foolish... even the attorney must have realized that or he would have done it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To be fair, I wondered what kind of "canopy" the fuel installation had at Corona? So I Googled it. It's okay, I guess, if you wanna give some shade to your fixed-wing fuel buyers. But it's horrible for helicopters.

 

CoronaMuni.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Latest info for R44 pilots and owners who will benefit from this tragic accident, after bringing heli in hover(stated to be 3 feet) the pilot preformed a tail turn and it was on departure the back disc caught the awning, the hei spun 180, it took a 3 count from the time the blades touched awning tell fire erupted and a few seconds after that flames were higher than the fuel island roof totally engulfing the ship.The first responder was their in approximately 1 minute and it was to late,so your talking seconds to a minute for a exit, fuel bladdes would greatly improve this time.

Edited by JETTSET99
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Man, you'd think that an attorney...a lawyer!...would understand the risks involved in not installing those bladders and would not have waited until the FAA made it mandatory. But I guess attorneys are in some ways just like the rest of us humans.

 

But look, bottom line, he was too close. A better pilot would have slid away from the canopy and made sure he had good clearance *before* doing any pedal turns in which he'd lose sight of the obstacle. I mean, that's our job.

 

We watched a LongRanger come into our field for fuel once. Older, more experienced pilot in the left seat; relative newbie in the right (low TT and obviously very little make/model time). They parked perpendicular, right side of the ship to our fuel pump/hose cabinet which is perhaps three feet tall. Upon departure the newbie was clearly on the controls. The old-timer (presumably the PIC) was on the left - - the opposite side of the fuel installation which was now not visible to him. As we watched, they lifted off to a hover and then did an immediate pedal turn to taxi out...which put their tail right over the fuel pump cabinet. We all ducked for cover, expecting the worst. Lucky there was two guys in the thing so it hovered more skids-level and the tail missed the cabinet by inches. With just the newbie onboard it would've hovered more nose-high and the tail rotor might've eaten the cabinet. Bad piloting. We don't know if the old-timer in the left seat chewed the newbie out for that bonehead maneuver, but I sure would have!

 

We can bemoan all day the fact that fuel tank bladders *might* have saved the R-44 pilot. Maybe a Nomex flight suit and helmet might have saved him too. But the bottom line is that *not* crashing a perfectly good helicopter definitely would have saved him.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recently sold my R44 in October to a nice guy here in Alberta. He did some recurrent training in it after buying it, but had a mishap with fuel pumps 8 days after taking possession. From what I've heard, he fuelled up, spun around and caught his T/R on something by the pumps. No one was hurt (I had the bladders installed earlier this year). It can happen quick, but I always do a good look around before firing up so that I can move back before spinning in the direction I want to go.

post-5661-0-60801000-1354201789_thumb.jpeg

post-5661-0-36446100-1354201804_thumb.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The RFM for the R22 (which I suspect is similar to that of the R44) has Safety Notice SN-40 which says "POSTCRASH FIRES" "There have been a number of cases where helicopters or light plane occupants have survived an accident only to be burned by fire following the accident. To reduce the risk of injury in a postcrash fire, it is strongly recommended that a fire-retardant Nomex flight suit, gloves, and hood or helmet be worn by all occupants."

 

I wonder if the pilot was wearing Nomex. I always do as do all military aviators. I wonder how the Nomex performed if it was worn.

 

When I attend the Robinson Safety Course I will find it interesting to see how many attendees comply with this notice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...