In its report on a 2011 incident in which a Sikorsky S-92 nearly crashed off the Canadian coast, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada implicates the pilots’ poor understanding of automation, insufficient basic flying skills and a misleading flight manual, which it says caused an inadvertent, vertiginous descent.
Helicopter flight controls
Two crewmembers and five passengers aboard a Sikorsky S-92 operated in IMC by Cougar Helicopters were only 38 feet above the waters of the Atlantic Ocean when the pilot, having suffered a bout of spatial disorientation, regained control of the helicopter, according to a September 12 report from Canada’s Transportation Safety Board. The incident occurred on July 23, 2011, 217 miles southeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland.
The Eurocopter X3 hybrid made its record-breaking speed run just 10 days before the opening of the Paris Air Show, so it was not surprising that the EADS company brought both the unique aircraft and its crew to the Le Bourget biennial event. On June 7, the X3 flew at 255 knots in level flight and 263 knots in a dive, besting the previous record set by the Sikorsky X2 in September 2010 (250 knots level and 260 knots in descent).
On April 9, the NTSB held a public meeting to discuss the crash of a LifeNet helicopter in Mosby, Mo., on Aug. 26, 2011. The Eurocopter AS350B2 ran out of fuel, according to the NTSB, and the pilot failed “to successfully enter an autorotation when the engine lost power due to fuel exhaustion.” What the pilot did not do, the Board explained, is move the cyclic control aft when the engine failed.
Flyit Simulators of Carlsbad, Calif., (Static No. 9) delivered two helicopter simulators to customers at Heli-Expo on Sunday.
Hughes 269B, Salesville, Ark., July 15, 2008–The board ruled that the probable cause of the helicopter crash was the pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from the crossing power transmission line. The helicopter’s rotor blades struck a high-voltage power line while on line patrol looking for vegetation encroachment. The helicopter was destroyed and the pilot and passenger were killed.
Hughes 369A, Moulton, Ala., May 13, 2007–The NTSB blamed the crash of the 369 on the separation of its main rotor blade from its tension torsion bar, but
the Board could not determine a reason for the separation. The pilot had recently bought the helicopter and an annual inspection was done just before the sale.
A main rotor blade was replaced and
The first two prototypes of the Bell/Agusta BA609 civil tiltrotor had covered around 60 percent of the certification flight-test program in more than 350 flight hours and 225 hours of ground running by the middle of last month, in the process reaching the type’s maximum operating altitude of 25,000 feet, its certification speed of 310 ktas and G loadings of +3.1 and -1.0.
BELL 47G4, NEAR GRAND LAKE, LA., JUNE 23, 2002–The pilot of the Bell 47G4 and one passenger received minor injuries while a second passenger escaped unharmed when the aircraft (N62446) hit terrain while maneuvering near Grand Lake at 11:55 a.m. The helicopter, registered to and operated by Deep South Helicopters of Jennings, La., was being operated under Part 91, and no flight plan was filed.
I have to admit that the Robinson revolution passed me by. I graduated from flight school in the U.S. Army in 1978, the year before the first R22 was certified. After seven years in the army, my civilian career path led directly to multi-engine turbine helicopters, a world apart from single-engine pistons.
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