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Thread: Medevac helicopter crash tragedy in Ohio.

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    Senior Member brianw999's Avatar
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    Default Medevac helicopter crash tragedy in Ohio.

    A Bell 407 of Survival Flight crashed in southeast Ohio. The pilot and two flight nurses lost their lives. No patients were on board.
    RIP colleagues.

    https://www.10tv.com/article/3-kille...hio-identified
    If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !


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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianw999 View Post
    A Bell 407 of Survival Flight crashed in southeast Ohio. The pilot and two flight nurses lost their lives. No patients were on board.
    RIP colleagues.

    https://www.10tv.com/article/3-kille...hio-identified
    What is the wisdom of allowing single-engine turbines for Medevac? AFAIK this is not legal in the EU.

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    What is the wisdom of allowing single-engine turbines for Medevac? AFAIK this is not legal in the EU.
    Safer and faster than 8 cyl low altitude ambuli?
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Senior Member brianw999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    What is the wisdom of allowing single-engine turbines for Medevac? AFAIK this is not legal in the EU.
    Correct. All emergency service helicopters in the UK must be at least twin engined and if operated at night must have two pilots although the latter may have changed recently.
    If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !


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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3WE View Post
    Safer and faster than 8 cyl low altitude ambuli?
    Perhaps. Until you lose power at low forward speed and low altitude, at which point it becomes about as safe as a flying rock.

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    Perhaps. Until you lose power at low forward speed and low altitude, at which point it becomes about as safe as a flying rock.
    Gotta multiply that by how often it happens and factor in the poor suckers who die enroute in the SSSSLLLLOOOOWWW ground-based vehicle and the incidents of the ground base vehicle smacking something else head on. It's called scientific engineering and why we allow babies to die from sitting on their parent's laps.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Member ATLcrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    What is the wisdom of allowing single-engine turbines for Medevac? AFAIK this is not legal in the EU.
    I don't know that very many chopper crashes in general (and medevac specifically) have been due to engine failure (or engine problems of any kind). In fact, as some of my rotorhead friends tell me, an engine failure is one of those precious few helicopter problems that probably WON'T kill you.

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    Senior Member BoeingBobby's Avatar
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    Look up the stats, safest single engine aircraft by hours flown, Bell 206.

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ATLcrew View Post
    I don't know that very many chopper crashes in general (and medevac specifically) have been due to engine failure (or engine problems of any kind). In fact, as some of my rotorhead friends tell me, an engine failure is one of those precious few helicopter problems that probably WON'T kill you.
    A while back someone posted a link to a fatal jetranger crash that happened when it lost the engine as it was slowing to hover at about 150'. It's really alarming how it just drops out of the sky. You need airspeed to autorotate, either at that moment or you have to get it by pushing forward on the way down. You simply can't do that at low altitude and low forward speed.

    Quote Originally Posted by 3WE
    Gotta multiply that by how often it happens and factor in the poor suckers who die enroute in the SSSSLLLLOOOOWWW ground-based vehicle and the incidents of the ground base vehicle smacking something else head on. It's called scientific engineering and why we allow babies to die from sitting on their parent's laps.
    It's not a helo vs ambulance issue. It's a single vs twin issue. Single-engine machines are perfect for certain markets, where operational costs must be keep down, such as private GA and aggie and surveillance, and for certain military roles. They should not be used for commercial passenger transport or medivac however. If you think medevac can't afford twin ops, I have a medevac bill that will pop your eyes out. But don't listen to me, listen to the EU, which wisely requires twins in these roles, and AFAIK for any flights over densely populated areas.

    Bell developed the 427, basically a twin-engine 407, to meet this need, which was later replaced by the 429, a fairly common medevac chopper. Eurocopter developed the AS355, basically a twin-engine AS350, for the low end twin market.

    And no, I'm not speculating that this crash was due to engine failure. I'm just pointing out that singles shouldn't be used in dedicated, for profit medevac roles.

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    Member ATLcrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    And no, I'm not speculating that this crash was due to engine failure. I'm just pointing out that singles shouldn't be used in dedicated, for profit medevac roles.
    That's your opinion, Evan. Years of experience suggest otherwise. Nor does what the EU does or doesn't allow necessarily germane in this case, they also don't allow single-engine fixed-wing "carrier ops" (including charter), making, for example, the PC-12 (a Swiss-built aircraft) not legal for ski charters to Switzerland, so here we are...

    Just to clarify, if it's a dedicated but NON-profit medevac operation, they can fly all the single-engine choppers they want?

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    So, do we need to contact Weber Airlines / Air Choice One?
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by ATLcrew View Post
    Just to clarify, if it's a dedicated but NON-profit medevac operation, they can fly all the single-engine choppers they want?
    In situations where any helo is better than none, and the cost of operating a twin is truly prohibitive, I think exceptions should be made. This, however, does not include for-profit medevac operations that serve major communities in the developed world. In that case it has to be pay-to-play. And god knows they mark it up and pass it on to the customers. But we should also require twins for any non-profit providers who can charge fees that support the operating costs. Singles should be the exception and twins the rule. My opinion.

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    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    Triple hair-splitting warning

    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    You need airspeed to autorotate
    No you don't. You do need forward speed to arrest the high descent rate that develops during autorotation, though.

    either at that moment or you have to get it by pushing forward on the way down.
    If you really could not-autorotate without airspeed, pushing forward would not help. A rotor below low-speed limit is not very good at controlling pitch either.

    You simply can't do that at low altitude and low forward speed.
    But if you are at REALLY LOW altitude, you don't need to build forward speed: the inertia of the rotor is enough to arrest the very small decent rate that would develop, if you react in a split second. And if not the skids will take care of it.
    That's why the dead-man curve has an open path between 0-0 and cruise.

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    No you don't. You do need forward speed to arrest the high descent rate that develops during autorotation, though.
    Sorry, you need airspeed to reliably autorotate to a safe, survivable landing. I should have been more... specific there...

    And not while in ground effect. Need to be very specific round here.

    Tridair was the first to produce a twin variant of the Bell 206. It was designed for service with the US Forestry Dept specifically with low altitude hover in mind for rappelling missions. The single engine 206 was rejected because an engine failure would not be considered recoverable in that scenario. The 212 was too costly to operate. Thus the twin Gemini ST was designed and certified. Bell finally got around to making their own with the 427.

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    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    That said, many twins have a dead-man's curve too. If you are hovering at a somehow high altitude (between ground effect and a few hundred feet) it may be not recoverable either.
    Some of them (cat B) don't have enough OEI performace to achieve OGE hoover.
    Some of them (cat A) do.
    Some can be operated as cat B or cat A depending on the weight, altitude and temperature.

    So are you suggesting twin Cat A ops only to be allowed?

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ATLcrew View Post
    I don't know that very many chopper crashes in general (and medevac specifically) have been due to engine failure (or engine problems of any kind). In fact, as some of my rotorhead friends tell me, an engine failure is one of those precious few helicopter problems that probably WON'T kill you.
    On a related note- are any of these things that Evan and Gabriel are speaking of in their pontificating peeing contest provide insight to this crash? Have we ruled out IMC and collision with something, other mechanical failures, pilot error and meteors and know that it’s failure of the number one engine and botched autorotation?
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Senior Member brianw999's Avatar
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    Pictures show that the aircraft came down in thick woods so autorotation would probably not have helped. As for the cause...putting aside pilot error for now, most helo accidents are caused by a gearbox problem or tail rotor failure. The only incident that I can recall involving a main rotor failure was caused by a mechanic failing to use or not fitting the correct locking washers on the rotorhead bolts.
    As always, the FAA/NTSB report will tell all.
    If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !


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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    That said, many twins have a dead-man's curve too. If you are hovering at a somehow high altitude (between ground effect and a few hundred feet) it may be not recoverable either.
    Some of them (cat B) don't have enough OEI performace to achieve OGE hoover.
    Some of them (cat A) do.
    Some can be operated as cat B or cat A depending on the weight, altitude and temperature.

    So are you suggesting twin Cat A ops only to be allowed?
    Short answer: yes. Why? Because the only detriment and barrier to Cat A is acquisition and operating cost. Now, to be clear, I am referring to the industry that charges $12,000 to $25,000 (on average) for less than an hour of flight time. To answer the question: "what price for safety", there's your answer. They are already charging astronomical rates in a market without pricing regulation, and people are forced to pay it, so I see no reason why the public cannot be assured the safest equipment in return. And on the plus side, operators will see a favorable reduction in insurance rates with Cat A.

    Caveats: as every opinion I post here is instantly turned into a black-and-white distortion, let me clarify a few things. First of all, I am not under the illusion that two engines means twice as safe. There are still many common threats shared by twins and singles, tail rotor failure being the most obvious (although very rare). I'm also aware that non-Cat A twins are not fail-passive in the event of a single engine loss and may not be able to remain airborne. But even they have some mitigating degree of control in an emergency descent. Even in the most vulnerable situations, they have a better chance of making a survivable landing. Lastly, yes, I am aware that single engine turbines are extremely reliable and engine failures statistically rare.

    But all this considered, if we are being charged ten to twenty times the operating cost of a helicopter flight, we deserve to be assured the lowest risk and the safest equipment, and the industry has developed that equipment specifically for this purpose.

    Now, on the other hand, if you want to only charge me $1500, you can pick me up in your 407.

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    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    (Pst!, guys, not that I agree 100%, but I actually liked that last post from Evan)

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    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3WE View Post
    On a related note- are any of these things that Evan and Gabriel are speaking of in their pontificating peeing contest provide insight to this crash?
    No,

    Have we ruled out IMC and collision with something, other mechanical failures, pilot error and meteors?
    No, in particular we have not ruled out meteors, but we have confirmed collision with another celestial body.

    --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
    --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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