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Thread: Tourist helicopter crashes into East River off Manhattan

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    Member ErezS's Avatar
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    Default Tourist helicopter crashes into East River off Manhattan

    2 Dead, 4 Injured After Helicopter Crashes Into East River

    The helicopter went down in the East River around sunset with six people on board

    Two people are dead and three others are in serious condition after a tour helicopter carrying six people crashed into the East River Sunday evening, FDNY and NYPD officials said, citing preliminary information.
    The five passengers became trapped in the overturned helicopter and had to be rescued from frigid waters by divers, officials said. Three of them were taken to area hospitals in critical condition, while the other two were pronounced dead at the scene.
    The FDNY said the passengers — two were taken to Bellevue and a third to NYU — were upgraded to serious condition late Sunday night.

    https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/loca...476498023.html




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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    I think it's really time to for New York to ban over-water revenue flights using single-engine helicopters.

    It looks like the pilot did everything by the book (and walked away because of that) but pop-out floats don't do much to prevent the thing from flipping and immersing passengers who are unfamiliar with the harnesses and have no training for this.

    This has happened before and WILL happen again as long as a single engine failure requires autorotation over water.

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    I think it's really time to for New York to ban over-water revenue flights using single-engine helicopters.
    Counter argument might include banning cars. Sucks to crash, but excrement transpires and life is 100% fatal.

    Update- no survivors EXCEPT for pilot. Drowning seems like a likely cause of death.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Senior Member BoeingBobby's Avatar
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    I have always believed that beating the air into submission to become airborne is a dangerous thing. My father who was an A&P and AI as well as a WWII pilot called them frantic palm trees. More AD's on helicopters than anything else. However on the other hand, if you look at the numbers, the single engine aircraft with the best numbers is the Bell 206 JetRanger.

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    If this had been an AS355 insted of an AS350, there would be no story here.

    I realize twins are more expensive to own and operate, but that is true of ETOPS aircraft as well and it doesn't prevent ETOPS requirements. It should be a pay-to-play industry and I think Liberty could afford to do that. At the very least, paying customers should be made fully aware of the danger of what they're climbing into. If a single experiences an engine failure around Manhattan, you are going in the water and you are going to end up inverted under dark water in a strange harness. Have them print that on their advertisements and pre-flight agreements in bold like a cigarette pack warning. Then at least you can say they were warned.

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoeingBobby View Post
    I have always believed that beating the air into submission to become airborne is a dangerous thing.
    ...and take that comment and add in truthful stuff like the blade AOA cycling back and forth at a pretty rapid rate and pivoting here and there and a tail rotor and sometimes an aerodynamic rudder and control linkages and belts and clutches...there's a lot of places for stuff to break and create a pretty dang SERIOUS condition.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    I see a Yahoo headline: "Passenger gear may have interfered with controls"

    That and $0.50 will get you a cup of coffee but not_at Starbucks.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    This might just become yet another case of voluntary NTSB recommendations not taken where an FAA Airworthiness Directive was in order.

    I just learned that the pilot believes a passenger's gear or bag strap may have caused a fuel shutoff. He has good reason to believe that. It has happened before. On numerous occasions.

    On one of these occasions, three occupants died. There is a small distinction though...

    The AS350 (those with a floor mounted Fuel Flow Control Lever [FFCL]) has a known vulnerability to inadvertant fuel control movement by passengers or luggage. There are three levers mounted on the floor between the pilot and front passenger seat. One is the rotor brake. One is the fuel fire cut off lever (unguarded!) and one is the FFCL. The fuel cut off is a short lever, not as susceptible perhaps but still it's easy to see how a bag strap can get around it. The more prominent lever is the FFCL. Pushing it forward will also cut off fuel to the engine, while pulling it out of the detent and up will cause a rapid overspeed condition and engine failure**. The entire quadrant is alarmingly exposed to accidental movement.

    THE NTSB WAS AWARE OF THIS. They knew it presented a grave risk. This is an excerpt from Safety Recommendation A-10-129-130:

    Quote Originally Posted by NTSB Safety Recommendation A-10-129-130
    The NTSB concludes that the design and location of the FFCL and its detent track in Eurocopter AS350-series helicopters allows for easy access to and inadvertent movement of the FFCL, which could cause a serious or catastrophic accident if the movement occurs at a critical point during flight or on the ground. Therefore, the NTSB recommends that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) require Eurocopter to review the design of the FFCL and/or its detent track on AS350-series helicopters and require modification to ensure that the FFCL is protected to prevent unintentional movement out of its detents and that it does not move easily to an unintended position.
    They then made the following recommendations to the FAA:

    Quote Originally Posted by NTSB Safety Recommendation A-10-129-130
    Require Eurocopter to review the design of the fuel flow control lever (FFCL) and/or its detent track on AS350-series helicopters and require modification to ensure that the FFCL is protected to prevent unintentional movement out of its detents and that it does not move easily to an unintended position. (A -10-129)
    No AD issued AFAIK. Was this the accident the NTSB was hoping to prevent?


    **The NTSB is concerned that the FFCLs on Eurocopter AS350-series helicopters can be easily and inadvertently moved out of their detents by objects or persons, including the pilot and passengers, in flight or on the ground. If the FFCL is inadvertently moved to the emergency-valve-opening-travel position during flight, the engine can rev up in seconds (as was the case in the Chickaloon accident), which can result in engine overspeed, engine over-temp, engine over-torque, and drive-train damage. According to Eurocopter ’s chief test pilot, the placement of the FFCL in the emergency-valve-opening-travel position during cruise flight could cause an engine overspeed within seconds and could potentially result in the shedding of free turbine blades. The pilot would have to release the collective lever using the left hand and move the FFCL aft to the flight detent to modulate the fuel flow. The adjustment is not instantaneous ; there is a lag between the time the input is made and the time the engine responds. If the FFCL is inadvertently moved to the stop detent during flight, the engine can shut off due to fuel starvation, requiring the pilot to restart the engine in flight. In both situations, a successful autorotation would likely not be achieved if the helicopter does not have enough altitude.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3WE View Post
    ...and take that comment and add in truthful stuff like the blade AOA cycling back and forth at a pretty rapid rate and pivoting here and there and a tail rotor and sometimes an aerodynamic rudder and control linkages and belts and clutches...there's a lot of places for stuff to break and create a pretty dang SERIOUS condition.
    I know a pilot who owns both a helicopter and a single engine prop airplane. He swears the helicopter is safer and go on at length as to why. It is a crying shame the passengers couldn't evacuate properly. I watched the video of it landing in the water. I doubt anyone was injured from the impact.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    NY TImes reportiong the following:

    When [the pilot] reached down for the emergency fuel shut-off, he said, he discovered that it was already off and that “a portion of the front seat passenger’s tether was underneath the lever,” the report says.
    So it's looking likely that this wouldn't have happened if either the operator or the FAA had simply listened to the NTSB. It seems this was an accident waiting to happen, with plenty of warning beforehand.

    And an accident waiting to happen again....

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