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Helicopter Down in Florida Main Blade departure!


JETTSET99
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Very interesting winds 10 mph straight and level so Mast Bumping is unlikey. Another -4 Delam?????

 

 

 

http://www.theledger...ar-Apollo-Beach

 

Did I miss it? I didn't see anything about the main blade separating. Corrosion along the bond joint is always something to watch for....in a corrosive ocean salt spray environment it's even more important!

 

You're right, 10 knots along the coast is not real conducive to turbulence and mast bumping, unless there are some other manuevers involved...like a pushover.

 

Sorry to hear of this crash and the loss of life.

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Hard to tell what it is...

 

http://www.baynews9...._crash_rep.html

 

Might be an R-22, might be a Rotorway. Either way it looks like the rotor took the top of the cabin off when it left.

 

Please be careful of saying things like, "Straight and level flight, so no mast bumping." We have no way of knowing what the pilot was doing in the cockpit or what lead up to the accident. I agree that "normally" a helicopter flying along straight and level would not get into mast bumping, but there is never anything "normal" about helicopter flying. A flinch in the wrong direction if a bird suddenly appears in your peripheral vision can have catastrophic consequences.

 

Hopefully we can learn more about what caused this tragic accident.

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Hi All,

 

I'm new to this forum. I recently took up flying and have flown (once) the R22 that went down in Apollo Beach. N2626N out of Tampa Bay Aviation in Clearwater where I live. My brother comes over regular from the UK to fly and has probably about 10-15 hours in this very craft. He is coming next week specifically for 10 hours of booked time he had in N2626N. This tragedy really hits home.

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Hmm, first pic looks like an inverted R-22.

 

Very tragic accident. As an engineer, I'm surprised no one has come up with an inexpensive and lightweight data logger suitable for R22s and other very small aircraft.

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The report said it took off from Tampa Bay Aviation in Clearwater, and having been there a few times, they have 1 pure white Robinson R22. Whatever the root cause of the accident, it may have separated a portion of the fuselage or tail boom, looking liking a blade. I've never seen any Rotorways in that area, but it very well could have been someone visiting the airport. Clearwater less than 5 miles from the actual water, so corrosion is definitely a possibility, which is somewhat unsettling if determined to be the cause. Interested to see what an official report will say.

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This is horrible. I can't even imagine the feeling when you know your main rotor is gone and you begin an uncontrolled freefall knowing recovery is impossible, no matter the cause.

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^ Not to sound macabre, but if I were in a situation like that, I would hope in the process of the rotor separating, it enters the cabin and takes me out just so I could go quickly without ever realizing what was happening.

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Someone please help me understand how this happens if not due to low-g mast bumping?

 

I'm not saying this was the cause of this accident in Florida, but main rotor separation can occur with an improperly installed (or not installed) mast nut, such as this fatal accident in Canada:

 

http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-reports/aviation/2000/a00q0046/a00q0046.asp

 

Basically, the main rotor hub assembly was dismantled for maintenance (B206) and replaced, but minus the mast nut. Pilot took helicopter up to test a different system, the rotor stayed together, tragically, long enough for runup, hover, and takeoff, and then separated from the helicopter.

 

Never doubt the importance of a thorough preflight, especially after any kind of maintenance.

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Doubt the Jesus Nut wasnt thier its part of preflight and is clearly visible,this scares me the pilot was also a heli instructor chances of mast bumping causing this is null.

 

 

Ward spent more than 20 years as a commercial captain for American Airlines, his family said, flying internationally and across the country. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Ward was also a licensed helicopter pilot instructor, they said.

Still, on Friday afternoon, his years of experience were not enough.

Piloting a Robinson R22 helicopter, Ward, 60, crashed into shallow water off the coast of Apollo Beach. RIP......

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Again, and I don't know it needs to be repeated, but it's way too early to say what would or would not have been the cause of this. Do we know why rotors come off helicopters? Yep. There are not many things that will cause it. But one simply cannot rule anything out. Not yet. Structural failure? Maybe. Low-g mast-bumping? Maybe. Engine failure and delayed reaction to rpm decay? Maybe. At this point it is just silly to say anything other than, "The rotor came off and the helicopter crashed." Let's pick up the pieces and see what they tell us.

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I fly this R-22 regularly (last time was 10-21-12), many hours since 2004, received Private & Commercial ratings in it... it is white with a navy blue stripe (like the one in my profile picture). The witness who claims he saw the rotors fly apart is the same who one said the ship was "black with white rotors". Too many conflicting reports to know exactly what happened...hopefully the NTSB report will be the most accurate as I anxiously await reading, being that this hits so close to home.

Edited by HeliPilotAlan
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So if the hub was still attached, it couldn't be mast bumping, right?

 

That seems like a logical conclusion, however I think it is actually not that simple. Mast bumping could still have happened at some point in the sequence, whether or not it was the cause for the blades to (apparently) leave the hub is something that the investigation team will have to work out.

 

Have a look at this: http://www.rotorshop.com/sir9603.pdf

This is the NTSB report from the mid-nineties that, as far as I know, eventually led to SFAR 73. It specifically mentions accidents where loss of main rotor control likely happened without prior low-G conditions.

 

 

I'll be watching this one closely, this actually has me worried.

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If the aircraft has been started regularly with the clutch engaged, it will cause small fractures to develop, which over time will cause the blade to come off. In one case in Oz about 5 years ago, the engineers were able to count about 250 times that it had been done, which agreed with the stories from pilots from that company. The owner refused to buy a new clutch. Sadly, he sold it, and it was the new owners who paid the full price.

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