Helicopter crash in Cambridgeshire

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Unfortunately a fatality :(

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-16445371

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As you may guess from its name 'Lancaster Way Business Park' is a WW2 Bomber Command base (Whitchford)

Sad news.

Moggy

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Very sad news indeed. Holbeach airfield as we locals call it, is about 5 miles away from me, and is an all grass airfield.I realise it's not where the crash happened, but know very well the airfield it was flying to.

I will try and find out a bit more about it, as he must have filed a flight plan, and somewon down there may know why it was landing there.
This airfield has had it's fair share of fatalities, it's in a very flat area, and cross winds tend to make it difficult to land sometimes I have, as a Police Officer attended two fatal crashes when I served in the job.
Jim.
Lincoln,7

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.. as he must have filed a flight plan

No flight plan is required for a domestic, non-commercial flight

Moggy

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No flight plan is required for a domestic, non-commercial flight

The reason I thought he would have done, was that this area, is fraught with military aircraft from many Countries, who are using the range at RAF Holbeach, I would have thought for safety reasons a flight plan would have been filed and approved, especialy this week as there has been a lot of movement overhead, and surrounding area.

Jim.
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There are just so many things I want to write, but biting my tongue will have to do lest I get banned..:rolleyes:

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Has anyone heard what MAY have caused the crash, I know it's early days as yet,
Jim.
Lincoln .7

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R22 are not simple to fly. If for any reason you lose power response must be split second or you are in a world of pain, by contrast something like a Jet Ranger gives you a few seconds to identify the problem and take action (Doing something with the cyclic? - I am not an eggbeater guru). R22 also have a habit of chopping their own tails off if handled clumsily.

The Wash ranges have their own restricted airspace. This serves to keep military and bimblers apart. In the UK flight plans are advisory only for flights over remote areas. Many UK internal flights are completed non-radio and non-flightplan. Anyway Fenland where it was headed is some 11 miles from the ranges danger area

Moggy

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Quite right in what you say, however, I was with a farmer, Geoff Hare from Sutton St Edmonds, it was in Nov 1979, we had taken off from Fenland airfield, and I was armed with a camera and lenses, I was going to try and find a Roman settlement. As we were climbing, we were suddenly thrown all over the place, as a jet aircraft shot past us travelling in the same direction.
A very shaken pilot, and myself landed ASAP, I believe Geoff filed a near miss
complaint. If these things are recorded, then it should be on file somewhere.
Jim.

Lincoln .7

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R22 are not simple to fly. If for any reason you lose power response must be split second or you are in a world of pain, by contrast something like a Jet Ranger gives you a few seconds to identify the problem and take action (Doing something with the cyclic? - I am not an eggbeater guru). R22 also have a habit of chopping their own tails off if handled clumsily.

Moggy

You're correct.
Bells and most other helicopters have wider span blades that produce more lift. In my time in flying a Bell 47, I found when lightly loaded, it didn't want to come down without reducing a lot of power. The wide blades retain a lot of stored energy.
The Bell 47 (and I'd assume the JetRanger as well) is a very forgiving aircraft.
My instructor had thousand of hours on the R-22, and he liked it...he said it was in many ways, a "hotter" or less forviving aircraft than the Bell, but today it's the standard training helicopter.
Though personally, I don't know whether that's because of its favorable operating cost or it makes "sharper" pilots better attunded to the turbine aircraft (Bells, ECs, Agustas) they'll fly commercially. I really think it's the former. There are still a few schools that use the Bells (I saw a large operation in Canada in 2009).

If you have a power loss in any helicopter and have to autorotate, you immediately lower the collective (the lever in your left hand that makes you go up and down)...and then raise it when you're just above the ground to add lift and cushion your landing. By beginning to lift the collective at about 10 feet and slowing your speed with some back pressure on the cyclic, you can make a normal touchdown.

You're correct about R-22s and their tails. In my city there was a fatal crash a year ago where a low time pilot on one of his first solos did just that.
I think (and I'm no R-22 expert with just a couple of hours in the type) that if you let the rotor RPM get too low and then pull up too sharply, the blade will make contact with the tail boom.

But to be fair, many other helicopters have sliced off their tail booms. That's why later marks of S-55s/Whirlwinds have an downward-angled tailboom. Often that kind of contact was made during a hard landing. While damage to the machines was extensive, injuries were not.

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Hell, that makes scary reading. :eek:

Moggy

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One thing of note is the huge variety of causes (where the cause is listed).

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IIRC, Robinson asked the US FAA to conduct a special review and the government did not find fault with the helicopter itself.
However under FAA rules, (IIRC) the FAA won't let you fly solo in it until you have 30 hours dual in the type, a rather unique requirement for a GA aircraft...and one that supports (at least in my mind) its reputation of being a demanding aircraft to fly.

A year or so ago on the commercial section of this forum, many "experts" were condeming the MD-11 as unsafe. Reasoned heads offered the opinion that it might be a bit more demanding than your typical 737/320 but it was far from unsafe when flown "by the book".

I'd say the same thing applies here. Just because an aircraft is more demanding doesn't make it dangerous and any calls for groundings (as was the case for the MD-11 here) would reduce all aircraft to a "lowest common denominator" status. The same way a Spitfire is more demanding than a J-3 Cub.
The Mitsubishi MU-2 turboprop series also had a special review, and again the FAA cleared the aircraft. With improved type-rating training the accident record for the aircraft has greatly improved.
And 27vet can add more to this, but we must recall the 727 had a bad safety record early on...and it turned out fine in the long run as pilots got used to the type. I'm sure there are similar examples with just about every aircraft.

Having said that, I'm not a Robinson fan....simply because I like the Bell better. It's too small for my 6'4" frame and comes across like a Harley with a rotor on top. But that's just me.

But, if Mr. Robinson reads this and offers me a free helicopter, I'd take it. :)

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That is why I pointed out that the R22 accident stats include a huge variety of causes. Since there are so many R22s, probability has it that more accidents will take place unfortunately. Mast bump is more prominent as is the problem with high and narrow skids, in R22s and 44s. But neither should be a veritable problem if the aircraft is flown correctly. Same with deep stalls in airliners.

Perhaps a mod can move this discussion about handling characteristics to its own thread as this thread was originally for the accident.

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That is why I pointed out that the R22 accident stats include a huge variety of causes. Since there are so many R22s, probability has it that more accidents will take place unfortunately. Mast bump is more prominent as is the problem with high and narrow skids, in R22s and 44s. But neither should be a veritable problem if the aircraft is flown correctly. Same with deep stalls in airliners.

Perhaps a mod can move this discussion about handling characteristics to its own thread as this thread was originally for the accident.

the same accident "stats" thing happened with the Boeing 737 for a while until it was pointed out that there are so many being used worldwide and many different models under the 737 tag as compared with other types of airliner. the 737 is just as good as any other aircraft and i suppose the R22 is also. they all have their quirks but due to being so affordable and plentifull the chances are that that name is going to crop up more often in the stats

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Perhaps a mod can move this discussion about handling characteristics to its own thread as this thread was originally for the accident.

On the contrary. I am quite happy with the general nature of this discussion that is providing great information for those, like me, who have little knowledge in this area, rather than speculation about the cause of this latest tragic incident

Moggy
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I have flown as a passenger in an R44 on a photo flight twice, I made a point of never asking for a hover but that is due to my distrust of single engine helis at slow or zero speed apart from landing and take off.

Interesting point about the stats, I live near the A9 highway and use it often. The media make a big issue every time there is a fatal accident calling it the killer A9. But they avoid the aspect that the A9 is the longest trunk road in Britain. I find the road is fine, its just the ignorant who overtake at the wrong place and time.

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I understand the R44 is a bit better in the event of an engine-out than the 22.

Moggy