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Discussion in 'AviatorChat.com' started by Juan-Manuel Fantango, Jan 27, 2020.
Okay, didn't know that.
Banking and descending....JFK Jr. comes to mind.
This goes back to one thing. He should have not taken off.
if the fog was too thick for bicycalists then the pilot was never going to get below it. could he have climbed vertically to get above it?
If it were me I would have climbed to an altitude for flight following.
If it were me I'd have taken a car. Bill Graham died for much the same reason in a helicopter in bad weather. Had the "I gotta get there" attitude. Huey Lewis was at the same event in a limo and offered to give Graham a ride home but no, he had to fly. Following car headlights on a highway in a rain storm and they found some high voltage wires.
I honestly disagree with this. Hindsight is 20/20 but based on the weather reporting available to him at the beginning of the flight, there was no good reason not to depart. The weather at departure (SNA), enroute (BUR and VNY) and arrival (CMA) were all above minimums for their operation. That was the information available to the pilot when he departed SNA.
The problem was the decision making once they were headed into Calabasas, in terms of going too fast and not admitting defeat and turning around before things went to hell.
Agreed, there was no reason to have any significant forward speed. I said this before, a helicopter cannot get in a dead-end canyon situation like an airplane. You wonder how often they practice hovering out of ground effect and while IFR.
The IFR helicopter guys I know say it is impossible to hover IFR. Yes, there are autopilots which can do it, but impossible for a human (and the S-76B autopilot apparently cannot do it). But regardless of hovering, they didn't need to be going fast into that canyon. 50-60 knots would have been plenty.
I think Bob is right. As you know living in coastal CA, a heading of 270 is the only clear way away from the hills. Just about every other direction leads you to hillsides. Actually looking at the map, even that heading takes you across a line of hills.
You're also correct, 270 would have pointed head on into strong front of fog, rolling off the coast. Hard to do when you're flying VFR.
Actually the coastline north of LA runs more or less east-west. A heading of 270 won't take you closer to the coast very fast. Further since he was in the in-land valley there are some significant hills between there and the coast.
Forbes is saying the pilot was allowed to fly IFR by the charter company.
I forgot about the final set of hills before the coastline. The 101 runs between lines of hills.
*Was NOT allowed to fly IFR, the charter company's part 135 certificate was VFR only and the helicopter is only IFR certified for dual pilots (unless it has an optional STC for a certain autopilot that allows single-pilot IFR operation).
Yea, I'm not saying there is a right or wrong answer, just asking what others would have done.
Since my first post regarding this accident, we now know much more, and will undoubtedly learn even more in the weeks to come. But as often happens with a rush of emotional news reporting, much gets misrepresented or facts get twisted or misunderstood. Please allow me to comment on only a few.
'He should have filed IFR (Instrument Flight Rules)' - By far, the vast majority of helicopter flights are conducted under VFR, i.e. Visual Flight Rules. Very few civilian helipads are equipped with instrument approaches. Some hospitals, government pads and some special use heliports are exceptions. I can almost guarantee that a sports complex would not.
'He should have filed IFR airport-to-airport and then driven' - Yes ... in retrospect, certainly. But we're assuming the pilot is qualified, current and proficient in IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions,) and that the aircraft was properly equipped. We are also assuming that the company op-specs allowed for IFR operations. It is my understanding they did not.
'He should have climbed, etc.' - Again, most likely yes. My inadvertent IMC procedures, learned many, many years ago are as follows; wings level, climb power, climb airspeed, turning only to avoid known obstacles, contact ATC (air traffic control) upon reaching MOA (minimum obstacle clearance. The final step is to promise never to do it again. See the comment above regarding qualifications and equipment.
'Some misunderstanding of SVFR (Special VFR) - This term has nothing to do with the fact that VIP's were on-board, and thus 'special.' The weather conditions reported at the departure and arrival locations were well within legal limits to conduct this flight. Being told by ATC to 'follow this highway, or that' is not uncommon. But weather changes and what exists at take-off may differ from en-route weather. And an airspeed commensurate with obstacle avoidance is expected.
"TAWS would have prevented this accident - No, it would not have. The TAWS (Terrain Awareness Warning System) would have been alerting almost from take-off. And no ... it should not be mandated by law. Aircraft, like cars, have options available. Pick and choose wisely....
I've flown minimally equipped VFR only helicopters and I've flown four-axis flight directors that when coupled would fly me down to 50 feet at the numbers. I've flown single pilot, I've flown dual pilot, and I've flown single pilot IFR. It can be a challenge and not for the unprepared. A major limitation for most helicopter IFR flying is fuel. The range often doesn't allow flight to a destination and then, if needed, to an alternate. I solved that issue in the military by aerial refueling. There are persons on this forum that have flown far larger and faster aircraft than I ... so these are only my observations. My comments are in no way meant to disparage the pilot or certainly anyone on-board. My heart and prayers go out to the family members.
Sorry, I should have said not allowed.
All good points. Actually in that part of SoCal, the 101 is nearly surrounded by hills, simply picking a heading out to sea probably would not present a clear shot out.
Fog notwithstanding, the possibility of a mechanical should not be dismissed completely. Apparently there was a Google Nest outdoor cam which picked up audio of the crash, and the minutes before. Investigators are analyzing it.
The old man is showing a sophomoric knowledge about an area that I haven't visited in many years. My suggestion to take a heading of 270 was a general suggestion to get away from the big hills and head for the lower spots on the coast. It doesn't matter now anyway.
It shouldn't be. Although the odds of a mechanical failure at the exact time they happened to fly into a foggy canyon would seem low...
Apparently the S-76B, in particular, is very fuel-limited.
Noticed the Pilot had a Class 2 medical certificate,also needs to carry spectacles.Can anyone imagine a situation of flying along visually, not needing the specs,then suddenly ending up in cloud,without the specs?
Bob, your one of the most respected and liked people here, that 270 could have saved them.
Edit: just playing scenarios in my head
No, I can't. The instruments are far enough away that most people with typical near-vision degradation due to age don't have an issue with them. And I say that as someone who is wearing glasses for near vision right now.