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Discussion in 'AviatorChat.com' started by Juan-Manuel Fantango, Jan 27, 2020.
Crash site video:
I could understand that if we're talking about a lower spec Robinson but these Augustas are like $10M machines aren't they? Is it just not practical to retrofit an older aircraft with such modern tech?
Seems like having a mega yacht without a depth finder, or a luxury car without blind-spot monitoring...
That crash site video is sobering.
1991 Sikorsky S-76B - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikorsky_S-76
It is very easy to say this in hindsight, but much more difficult to make that call with the information available at the time. The best thing would have been for them to go IFR from SNA to CMA, but the charter operator was VFR only, so that wasn't an option, for them.
I'm sure the pilot checked the weather. The weather in SNA was apparently okay, in BUR and VNY it was marginal but okay, and in CMA it was marginal but okay (or maybe even better than marginal). That is all the information that was available before the flight.
So based on that, do you just say, well, it's marginal, can't go? That's a tough call to make. As a professional, I always felt that if it was safe and legal, I should take the trip. I'm sure this guy felt that way as well. So I'm not convinced that the initial decision to depart was wrong.
What was wrong was going to fast into an area where the weather deteriorated rapidly and not stopping or turning around and going back and landing at VNY and getting a limo or two. There is a point where you have to ask yourself "what am I doing here?" and admit defeat and turn around. But psychologically, that is very hard to do.
Not quiet yet Lets wait for the official report
thanks for the correction.
This WSJ article claims a TAWS system (way back in 2006 the NTSB "recommended" such a system to be required for commercial helis, but FAA disagreed) costs $25-$40k. Even if that's off by several factors a very small price to pay IMO for a fairly obvious, valuable tool.
Analogous to the requirement for car back-up cameras that automakers fought on the basis that they would add too much cost to the base price of cars (and they wanted to keep them in high-profit options groups...).
In both cases the additional equipment constitutes <1% of the price of the vehicle. BFD.
A TAWS system would have made no difference in this case. At low altitude, they are always giving warnings and thus are muted or cancelled. For most helicopter VFR operations, they aren't that useful. In this case, the pilot knew about the terrain-- it was the clouds that were the issue.
We have synthetic terrain but I would never think of using it as the only guide to fly IFR. It is very cool tool to help you avoid making a stupid mistake. With that said does anyone know just how accurate it is? Could you literally use this to thread the needle?
In the radio clip, the pilot asks to turn Southwest "for the 101". The 101 or "Ventura Freeway" goes east/west and would take them from the San Fernando Valley west to Thousand Oaks (for those of you who aren't smoggers). So I would assume his plan was to visually identify the 101 Freeway and just follow it. But I think because of the fog, he couldn't see it, and then descended to try and get through the fog. But by that time he had already passed the 101 Freeway, was heading into the Calabasas Mountains. Also on the handoff from the Van Nuys controller, she first says turn to 134.2, and then says 34.2 and the pilot repeats 34.2. I wonder if he didn't turn to the wrong frequency for SoCal, because there was no back and forth from that point.
I have been in a friend's little single-engine plane with an aftermarket $999 synthetic vision & an iPad, no doubt it would have saved this pilot & passengers.
Maybe Foreflight. You can even get it on the iphone.
Seems he went on the east side around Burbank and Van Nuys fields then SSW and picked up the 101.
Looked like he was following it until just before the crash.
He reported 1500' and vfr before following the 101. Burbank was reporting 1100' (AGL) overcast (~1800' MSL)
Shouldnt have had much trouble.
The terrain on the sectional shows 1000' to 2000' toward the top of the hill by the crash site before you go down into 1000 Oaks. Not sure the actual elevation directly over the Hwy. Or what the ceiling was going through the cut.
Nobody knows what took place right before but I am a little skeptical that an 8000 hour instrument rated helo pilot would loose it going into IMC. (know can happen).
If they had flown directly into terrain, maybe. Of course, we’re not going to judge without all facts.
I had terrain and synthetic vision in my Mooney on the Aspen displays. Would configure MFD for map view with terrain and the PFD with synthetic vision. SV would provide various color changes in the PFD warning about impending terrain. I tested it in various locals around the Cascades and it was within the accuracy of the GPS, or darn good.
A picture of the cockpit posted in the thread in Silver purportedly shows the cockpit and instrumentation. Appears they had a Garmin 530, which could have easily been configured to show terrain in a map view. The cost is well below the $ for the TAWS price you quoted. Cant' tell what the PFD and MFD are and whether they could display the same if fed by the 530.
I believe it was SoCal that told him he was “too low for flight following”.
I TOTALLY trust and respect your responses on stuff like this.
And yes, as I posted above, had a limo or two been arranged, this thread would not exist but Kobi, Gigi, and 7 other people WOULD still exist
Thanks Don - I always really value your "pilot input"
I value Don's "pilot input" also. Reading the early reports that the pilot was trying to find and follow "the 101" triggered the old IFR definition, " I Follow Roads". i keep thinking that if it were me wandering around in the fog near a bunch of hills, I would have latched on to a heading of 270 and got the hell out of there. I read somewhere where the pilot took a heading to the southeast that would have taken him into the hills. This whole thing is confusing. I have been in several situations like this here in the NW mountains and was lucky enough to get out of them. I emphasize luck because I didn't do anything to keep me from getting into the situations in the first place. If it's doubtful, stay put. If you get into bad stuff , there is always the good ol' 180. If you're stuck, maintain contact and look for a spot to put it down. Even out here it is possible. I'm no big dome or million hour ace but I have learned some hard lessons from my own stupidity.
I was wondering the same.
I did some research, found most TAWS systems are made by Honeywell, Collins Aero, L3 Harris, Thales,
as well as Garmin, Aspen, Sandel Avionics, Genesys Avionics.
I figure the FAA will now require this on all aircraft that seat 6 or more (how many lives does it take?),
some of these companies are privately held, the others are out of my (stock) price range.
Is there one or two of these systems that are 'the best' or the most widely used?
Not trying to be morbid, but three companies were given a few million dollars each to hasten
a 'cure' for the CoronaVirus, those three companies' stock shot up quite a bit...
We all know, shoulda-coulda-wouldas really suck in hindsight...
I really hope someone can pick up and keep running all the good charity work Kobe was doing,
and that all the families affected can recover from this, I can't even imagine...
Makes us all realize how trivial our 'problems' really are, in most cases.
Curious to why you would have chosen an escape heading of 270? west is where the fog was really dense.
Just heard a replay of NTSB spokes lady update.
They have the full recordings of the transmissions ,including from the Pilot after Van Nuys handed him over to Socal.
Part of it they say the Pilot said he was climbing to get above some cloud.Started to climb then made a left turn ,descending.
Hit the terrain at 1085 ft amsl.
No CVR or FDR required on that helicopter.
Off topic but does this sound like tail rotor failure or spatial disorientation?
The consensus of the helicopter guys I know is that he was trying to do a 180 and instinctively get back down to VFR conditions. So banking steeply and descending... Bob, I'm sure you know where that path leads...
Unfortunately, he was going too fast, let the bank get away and the nose down. I'm a minimal helicopter pilot (have the rating but not much more), and their theory is that he saw the ground coming up, pulled on the collective (which, in a bank, creates a force vector perpendicular to the rotor disc), and that just accelerated the spiral.
Basically a steep spiral is what ended up.
The proper thing to do, according to my helicopter friends, and for that matter in a fixed wing aircraft as well, is to level the wings (or aircraft), climb straight ahead at best rate, and get above the terrain. Then worry about admitting you are IFR and ask for a clearance. But psychologically that's hard to do.
I guess that I prefer fog without big rocks in it. Lower terrain and a coastal road to possibly follow. Maybe a beach on which to land. Monday morning quarter backs are always so smart, aren't they? Just trying to put myself in the situation and what I might do.
I was out that morning, the fog was so thick we canceled our group beach bike ride, we couldn't see 10 feet through it, the pilot would have had big problems.