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EC-130 Emergency Landing


Nomad110

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Does anyone know what happened here? The pax on board tweeted "Fuel dropped to zero with rotor speed warning."

 

http://gizmodo.com/5...eeting-about-it

 

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom says his helicopter had to make an emergency landing following an appearance at the International Air Show in Auckland today.

 

However, he later posted: "No kidding. Emergency landing in the middle of nowhere."

 

He said his pilot was trying to identify the fault, after "fuel dropped to zero with rotor speed warning". Forty minutes later Dotcom tweeted that the pilot had found a disconnected wire, and the fuel gauge was working again.

 

"This is the first time I agree with the prosecutor. Flying is a RISK!!," he said. Dotcom tweeted "we're back in business" at 2.42pm. The Air Show is held at the North Shore Aerodrome and is a three day event.

 

http://tvnz.co.nz/na...landing-5328215

Edited by iChris
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More importantly, does anybody care?

 

Off the top of my head? I'd say Nomad110 cares. Probably also the three people on board and any EC130 pilot is probably intersted in an anomaly reported by anoter EC130 pilot.

 

Sounds like a fuel computing malfunction and I'd say the pilot did the right thing. Always better to trouble shoot fuel issues on the ground rather than a confirmation in flight that there is a fuel quantity issue.

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Why put it in the dirt with a fuel gauge suddenly inop?

Especially in a Eurocopter, well developed rep for wonderful (more than one definition) electrics?

 

RFM isn't totally clear on what to do with an inflight faulty fuel level indicator but I'm not staying in the air. Since you can't rule out the possibility that you have a large sudden fuel leak I'm going to the ground. If I don't have an accompanied fuel pressure or fuel flow warning it's not an land immediately situation. Just get the ground normally and set it down where a safe normal landing can be performed. I'm not flying for 10 minutes to get to the nearest airport. Nothing I do is ever so critical that I need to tap on gauges and scratch heads...

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Why put it in the dirt with a fuel gauge suddenly inop?

Especially in a Eurocopter, well developed rep for wonderful (more than one definition) electrics?

 

In one word? Lawyers.

 

If I have a questionable fuel quantity, I want to investigate it on the ground. How else can you confirm it's not a fuel leak? The low fuel warning system? What if that's actually inop and the fuel gauge is correct? Continuing to fly and turning a perfectly good helicopter into a pile I parts is a lot harder to explain then why I "put it in the dirt" by an armchair pilot.

 

I wasn't in the cockpit not am I a 130 pilot so I don't know of the gauge disappeared or if it dropped to zero. I nearly always encourage a precautionary landing sooner rather than later. What's the harm? A 20 minute delay? I can live with that.

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Kim Dotcom later said that the pilot had found a disconnected wire on the fuel gauge and he completed the helicopter flight without incident.

 

The EC-130 has a color LCD display, Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display (VEMD) that integrates aircraft and engine instruments into one display, such as; torque, exhaust gas T4, fuel quantity, fuel flow, engine speed Ng, etc. The VEMD in conjunction with the Ancillary System Unit (ASU) process all audible warning signals.

 

The VEMD/ASU is a wonderful system, however; under some failure modes, when you have all these inputs going into one central system, one loose cable, wire, or critical component failure, you’re likely to receive multiple system errors and symptoms.

 

Be aware of the limits of the technology, crosscheck. Make sure what you’re seeing make sense; don’t create an emergency.

 

Moreover, if this happened 20NM offshore would you have blown the floats and landed, or continued on to shore?

 

Pagesfrom130B4-09-101-02_zps88f9017f.jpg

Edited by iChris
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Moreover, if this happened 20NM offshore would you have blown the floats and landed, or continued on to shore?

 

 

If this situation were to happen to me and I was 20 nm over water I would not go to the water. Likely assuming a basic fault I would choose to continue flight, scan the panel, ready to enter an auto at any moment. In a nut shell I would get to land. Water landings in the EC-130 almost always end in a damaged tail rotor. The float systems are just too low and don't clear the fenestron out of the water...any kind of surf and you can kiss it bye bye. There was actually a video of this which was pretty scary...I'll post it if i find it.

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Moreover, if this happened 20NM offshore would you have blown the floats and landed, or continued on to shore.

 

 

Me? I'd set max range airspeed and find a platform to land on. The bigger the better for a second aircraft recovery, but I'd land sooner rather than later. But until it quit, I wouldn't pop the floats. I would think that's an overreaction to force yourself to the water. A precautionary landing shouldn't be frowned apon. After all, assuming it was a leak wouldn't everyone be on the guy for not landing sooner?

 

Having made more than my fair share of precautionary landings, I've always been questioned about what I did and why. But without bending any metal it's always been easy to justify what I did. Pilots on the ground certainly had some interesting ideas of what they'd have done in the same situation. Take a stuck throttle in a H269. Cruise power set. How would anyone deal with that? I know what I did and what I'd do again. And what is do different.

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I'm not a 130 pilot, so I don't have the RFM. I don't think I've ever seen a flight manual that said a fuel gauge failure was a land as a "land soon as practicable" item. An off airport landing presents risks itself, I might consider going to an improved landing surface for maximum safety and most conservative response.

 

As to "rotor speed warning"... do what you have to do to ensure survival and diagnose at your leisure. VEMDs do their thing in inscrutable fashion, being computer driven,they do occasionally generate specious alerts, high and low side. But, you have an NR steam gauge to tell you what's happening in that critical area, so a horn/beep/gong is the start signal for the emergency procedure that includes figuring out whats really happening.

 

An off-airport landing has risks. I wouldn't expose myself in this case....

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This also happened to an EC130 in the Grand Canyon. Fuel level dropped to zero. Pilot landed. Shut down. After turning power back on the gauge read as it should. He then took off and flew back to KLAS.

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An off-airport landing has risks.

 

So does flying an aircraft with a fuel gauge that reads "0".

 

Reading the article, it said the gauge read zero, not that it showed nothing. That's what I'm making my posts based on. What the rotor warning is I have no idea and I'm not making comment on how that would effect he length if the flight.

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What's the maximum per seat weight limit in an EC130?

 

I don't believe there is one. As long as you're with within weight and balance limits you're good to go. There are cabin compartment load limitations however. Rear cabin floor is limited to 1091 lbs and the forward cabin floor is limited to 893 lbs with a max. distributd load of 62.5 lbs per sq ft.

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Off the top of my head? I'd say Nomad110 cares. Probably also the three people on board and any EC130 pilot is probably intersted in an anomaly reported by anoter EC130 pilot.

 

Sounds like a fuel computing malfunction and I'd say the pilot did the right thing. Always better to trouble shoot fuel issues on the ground rather than a confirmation in flight that there is a fuel quantity issue.

 

I really meant about anything that came out of Dotcom's mouth. The guy is a toolbag, albeit a rich toolbag.

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Is that in the flight manual? I can't find that number anywhere.

 

You can't find it because its not there. I flew 130's for 3 1/2 years both 7 and 8 seat models and never saw a seat weight. I've flown a handful of 400+ pound passengers. Even was a question on a few recurrent checkrides...

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I know a very skilled, conscientious and conservative pilot who flew into fuel exhaustion once. Amazingly, he'd started with a topped off tank, max fuel available should have been a known quantity. But, he relied on a gauge that was failing/failed with apparent movement of the indicator, and flamed out about 20 minutes after the conventional rule of thumb endurance. Relying solely on a fuel gauge will put you in a crack if you let it, whether the needle indicates full, zero or some absurd quantity in between. An off airport landing worked in this incident, and the passenger was thrilled. Luck, I would rather not rely on it.

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Is that in the flight manual? I can't find that number anywhere.

 

This is a number I got from factory training. The crash attenuating seats are considered ineffective beyond that weight. It's even shown in iBal actually. Our ship is for private use but I don't doubt that number has been pushed in the tour industry.

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This is a number I got from factory training. The crash attenuating seats are considered ineffective beyond that weight. It's even shown in iBal actually. Our ship is for private use but I don't doubt that number has been pushed in the tour industry.

 

I have a hard time with what your saying... If the factory says its "blank" but it's not in the FM sorry but I'm not listening to it. If it was an important number, limatation etc it would be in the FM.

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