Drone verses Helicopter

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by AfterBurners, Jan 27, 2020.

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  1. Jan 27, 2020 #1

    AfterBurners

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    I was wondering do you guys think a drone could cause a helicopter to crash if it was big enough and got tangle in the rotors / mechanism of the helicopter?
     
  2. Jan 28, 2020 #2

    NateB

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    The consensus from our pilots and mechanics is that a drone could probaly cause enough damage we couldn't land safely, especially if it got into the tail rotor. But they think it would be more likely to be similar to a bird strike. There could be damage, but it might not result in a loss of control.

    There was a Blackhawk that hit a drone a few years ago on the East coast. It damaged a rotor and they found drone bits in part of one of the turbines. Not good, and expensive, but they still landed safely.
     
  3. Jan 28, 2020 #3

    AfterBurners

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    The reason I ask is that I was wondering if something like that could have collided and brought down the helicopter Kobe Bryant was in, if the drone was large enough?. The pilot was flying below the clouds and wasn't detected on radar. The helicopter never hit the side of the mountain, but impacted in the ravine below, so from what I understand is the pilot was flying low between the mountains. I mean its just a thought? They mention the pilot made a sudden turn to avoid something? I'm just speculating. It seems this could have been avoided if they just took another means of transportation.
     
  4. Jan 28, 2020 #4

    NateB

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    I read about people speculating a drone was involved. I doubt that was the case. The ATC traffic is available on YouTube. There is talk between the ATC and the pilot about flying into VFR conditions and other traffic in the area. The pilot didn't call out anything before they lost contact.

    In general, most helicopter crashes are a result of IIMC to CFIT. (Inadvertent Instrument Meteorological Conditions to Controlled Flight Into Terrain) "Scud Running" is the practice of getting lower and lower under the ceiling and then getting into trouble.

    This COULD be the case here, but I wonder why the pilot didn't just request IFR instead of Special VFR and go into the clouds and flight patterns. What little information is out there is the ship and pilot were both certified for instruments. I'll be curious if we are told anything more about this at work in the morning.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2020
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  5. Jan 28, 2020 #5

    AfterBurners

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    Do the helicopters have black boxes? Never mind news stated there were no black boxes.
     
  6. Jan 28, 2020 #6

    NateB

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    Ours have black boxes. Voice recording, flight info, and a video camera pointed at the instrument cluser and controls.
     
  7. Jan 28, 2020 #7

    georgegassaway

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    Oh yeah, flying low in fog, "special VFR", deteriorating conditions , and mountains.

    Screw Occam's Razor, GOTTA be a drone to blame here.....

    GEEEZ.

    Now if someone suggested it was hit by a model rocket or HPR rocket, you'd be all over them.

     
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  8. Jan 28, 2020 #8

    Flyfalcons

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    A clip board took down a helicopter so under the right circumstance, yes.
     
  9. Jan 28, 2020 #9

    NateB

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    If that video represents the weather at the time of the incident, I would not want to be flying VFR. I'd be asking the pilot to go IFR and get home.
     
  10. Jan 28, 2020 #10

    Jim Hinton

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    Hi Folks;

    I would not want to be the FAA officials who granted that aircraft 'special visual flight rules'. They might have been justified, but they are going to under the microscope now. Based on the pictures that I have seen of that area at the time of the crash, I would not operate ANY AIRCRAFT in those conditions. In my case, that is just models, but it would still be highly irresponsible. I don't see how anyone could have had adequate visibility to operate either an FPV or LOS model. In many ways, this has seemed somewhat reminiscent of 'The Day the Music Died'. That was another aircraft that should have never left the ground.

    Jim
     
  11. Jan 28, 2020 #11

    heada

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    I'm not a pilot but from what I understand, they were flying at 1400' but the ceiling (clouds) was at 1100' and there was terrain all around. Not something I'd want to do.
     
  12. Jan 28, 2020 #12

    Tyler P

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    Completely sketchy flying conditions. Definitely should not have been flying VFR. Such a sad thing to happen for someone making a poor decision to fly in poor conditions.
     
  13. Jan 28, 2020 #13

    AfterBurners

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    And get this all the police helicopters were grounded because of the conditions so I agree I think the pilot should have known better
     
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  14. Jan 28, 2020 #14

    Peartree

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    Other reporting has said that Kobe's physical ailments made it almost impossible (ie. painful) for him to spend a long time (the quote time was two hours) seated in a car. So I wonder how much pressure there was on the pilot to get Kobe (his boss) from point 'a' to point 'b' "so we don't disappoint the kids."
     
  15. Jan 28, 2020 #15

    rfjustin

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    He will only make that mistake once.

    Too soon?:wavingsanta:
     
  16. Jan 28, 2020 #16

    James Duffy

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    Special Visual Flight Rules (SVFR) is not something that ATC grants to a pilot, but rather a set of operating rules that a pilot requests. (EDIT: I should expand upon this a bit. SVFR must be specifically requested by the pilot from ATC. During my instrument training, I was informed that operating under SVFR was, essentially, a good way to die. Filing IFR just takes a few more minutes, and is much, much safer, as it is better to be at higher altitudes under active ATC control than to be low, especially in a hilly area.)

    Go back and listen to the ATC communications linked above, and you can hear the controller asking " are you sure you're in VFR conditions?" That's ATC shorthand for "don't be stupid." This is 100% on the pilot.

    (Background: instrument-rated commercial pilot, though not a helicopter pilot.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2020
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  17. Jan 28, 2020 #17

    NateB

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    The PIC always has the final say and should not let a client add any pressure to their decision making. Of course, people are human and mistakes happen. "Get-there-itis" is a factor at times and also a pilot can be over confident in their skills leading to poor decision making.

    In EMS, we operate under a three to "go, one to say no" policy. The pilot is ultimately in charge, but we have to agree to go and any one of us can request the flight be aborted and the mission is over.

    I would love to be wrong, but my hunch is the pilot "knew" he could handle it. Not pressure from the passengers.
     
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  18. Jan 28, 2020 #18

    AfterBurners

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    I agree
     
  19. Jan 28, 2020 #19

    Exactimator

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    I’m sure Afterburners isn’t the only one who thought a drone strike could have brought down the helicopter. It’s a bummer that’s an issue now.

    Although they were flying low, I saw an interview with an eyewitness who explained he looked up to see what sounded like a large low flying helicopter but couldn’t see it because it was up in the cloud layer, then he heard it go down and shortly after saw where it crashed. I can’t think of a reason to fly a drone into a cloud layer/fog bank.

    I’m not a pilot but my uncle was an IFR rated pilot. He really had to learn to trust the instruments. When flying in blinding conditions it could feel like he was in a tight turn, or pitched up or down when he was actually flying straight and level. He talked about trusting the instruments with his life even though what he was feeling contradicted what they were showing him. They were always correct (but he did have in the back of his mind they were a mechanical component that could fail). Had he been VFR he would have corrected what he was FEELING, gotten his plane into a turning stall, and died. Once he got out of the Navy and had more say in where and when he flew, he NEVER flew in adverse weather conditions.

    Speaking of flying in adverse weather, there’s a really good lecture by a former Navy hornet pilot who talks about landing on a carrier in a blinding sand storm. Skip to 23:00

     
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  20. Jan 30, 2020 #20

    NateB

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    I read tonight that the charter operator was only certified to fly in VFR conditions according to their Part 135. That explains why the pilot did not request an IFR plan when it got foggy. Additionally, there was no terrain avoidance system installed in that ship. Apparently the HTAWS and black boxes are required for air ambulances, but not other helicopters. With two -likely- CFIT incidents in less than a month, I wouldn't be surprised to see the NTSB and FAA pressured to make some changes. Sadly, most aviation regulations are written in blood.
     

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