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Sixty minutes report on Robinson Helicopter crashes.


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Until now CASA did nothing. The organisation should be immediately dissolved for failure to act on actual safety issues. Possibly the senior staff should be charged or at least personally sued. Wonder if they will cover this?

 

 

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When it is suggested that a safety matter exists and there is a mod for it, you are in no man's land till it's done. CASA have grounded entire fleets before when it was not a big safety issue and maybe had their fingers burned with the backlash and not recognise when something serious really does require action. Nev

 

 

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Guest Howard Hughes
Until now CASA did nothing. The organisation should be immediately dissolved for failure to act on actual safety issues. Possibly the senior staff should be charged or at least personally sued. Wonder if they will cover this?

I sometimes wonder if too many resources are wasted on petty clerical errors, rather than focussing on the issues that actually kill people.
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Guest Maj Millard

They dropped the ball on this one for sure. Probabily listening to Robinson instead of seeing the actual facts. It was obvious there was a major safety problem after the Jaspers crash, the later Woolinggong crash could have been avoided. They will Probabily be sued for it, and should be.....................Maj...024_cool.gif.7a88a3168ebd868f5549631161e2b369.gif

 

 

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As this all unfolds, it might prove a lesson or two. When you know something is wrong, no one says you have to wait for an Authority to ground you these days. Might have been true in the Prescriptive days, but this one could have some surprises for a lot of people.

 

 

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Didn't CASA advise that the tanks should be changed? If so anyone who didn't change the tank would be held accountable I would think. The non compliant operator should carry the can, not CASA.

 

 

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Guest Maj Millard

They were grounded about a month ago if the tank mod hadn't been carried out. At that stage I believe there were 200 or so in this country non-compliant. Because of worldwide demand, the new bladder tanks are in short supply.....Maj...024_cool.gif.7a88a3168ebd868f5549631161e2b369.gif

 

 

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Guest Maj Millard

CASA responded correctly in this case only as a result of public outcry (a lot on this forum), and to the obvious safety problem highlighted in the media. They were charactistically late in doing so, and it took the fiery deaths of another four at Woolongong to kick them into taking the correct action........And the chances of us getting timely reports on our accidents...don't hold your breath.........Maj...024_cool.gif.7a88a3168ebd868f5549631161e2b369.gif

 

 

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Very damming report wasn't it. Very difficult for robbo to answer all those claims I feel. But CASA!!!!... You just keep making sure we all have an ASIC and that photo's accompany our rego's and keep the public safe...

 

 

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Guest Maj Millard

I thought the report was spot on, a little too much of the weeping widow stuff, but it all needed to be said, and generally pretty well done...even a photo of the CASA head man. They made the point that the tanks should survive a 15 mtr impact, but what actually punctures the tanks after rotor contact with the ground, is not necessarily the impact, but the flailing main gearbox which is situated right between both tanks, and just rear of the main cabin bulkhead...........Maj...023_drool.gif.742e7c8f1a60ca8d1ec089530a9d81db.gif

 

 

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a little too much of the weeping widow stuff

That's what this is going to be all about. More will come forward; the lawyer is obviously collecting the data, and my guess is it will split into several class actions depending on the jurisdiction.

 

This one is all about whether a manufacturer knew or ought to have known about a design in which people were dying in otherwise survivable crashes.

 

It is also about whether owners/operators knew or ought to have known the same.

 

What is interesting is that CASA have been dragged into it for not having applied a prescriptive decision; whether that has any bearing whatsoever on the cases will unfold in the success or failure of any claims.

 

 

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Guest Maj Millard

Many R22 crashes are collision with terrain while engaged in very high-risk mustering operations. Which by the way Frank Robinson never approved or condoned in his choppers. Maybe because of the impact type the post crash fire is not as obvious, as often these are accidents in remote areas that aren't witnessed.

 

The two R44 accidents mentioned in the 60 minutes show were witnessed, and in fact one was caught on video. It was obvious that the occupants survived the impact itself ( although possibly injured) and may have survived, but once the secondary post impact fire occurred, it was all over very quickly...................Maj...013_thumb_down.gif.ec9b015e1f55d2c21de270e93cbe940b.gif

 

 

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Yep. the gearbox looked like a big broken lam shell. Bits of sheared and smashed metal protruding from it. The tank itself had multiple holes caused by the gearbox 'grenading' not the impact which was quite soft. The other tank still had 20 litres of unburnt fuel in it the next day, whcih caused us all great distress knowing how close we all were to the wreck while trying to help.

 

Robbo have already settled out of court with one family, i wonder why the report didn't mention that?

 

 

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One downside of a settlement, in terms of safety information is that the terms are usually confidential, and there's no open admission or proof of guilt.

 

 

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on a positive note for the light avgas helicopter industry ....there have been no post impact fires in the Guimbal Cabri G2 that i am aware of, a similar but well designed helicopter with safety v cost the paramount design issue. IMHO its a design fault in the Robinson and a bladder tank will not fix the fault. Guimbal will blitz the Robinson market when they put out a 4 seat version and i hope to be one of their first customers. in the mean time i intend to continue to keep well away from every Robinson as i have done in the past.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

It was fairly beat up - especially given that at the time of the show all flying R44s have had the tanks replaced so airing it achieved no real gain except they gave the impression nothing had been done and have decreased the likelihood of victims getting legal redress because the show has produced an environment where Robinson will argue they can not get a fair and unbiased trial.

 

I didn't hear it said but I have spoken to number of non aviation people said they believed the report had stated that "EVERY" R 44 that had ever crashed in Australua had had a post impact fire which is completely wrong. But thats the impression they have given the general public. There actually have been very few percentage of the crashes have had a post impact fire. I am not sure but I understand the incidence of post impact fires is not worse than other helicopters - what is different is that the fires that have occurred have been in / from less destructive impacts than most of the fires in other helicopters. So what might have been otherwise survivable was not. It's still a problem - not saying its not but it did have a large amount of appealing to the emotional viewer.

 

R22 s are not subject to the same problem and its probably because the cause seems to actually be the main rotor gear box breaking up and rupturing the tanks. Not the tanks as such. The R22 rotor blades are so much lighter and they buckle and bend with impact and the forces are not transmitted down to the gear box in the same way. The gear boxes usually stay in the frame.

 

 

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Guest Maj Millard

Jaba, at the time CASA did finally ground the unmodified R44s, there were about 1-2 hundred of the total fleet that hadn't been modified. Don't know where that number stands ATM, but I do know supply of the new bladder tank mod kits from Robinson was slow due to worldwide high demand. What the Sixty minutes show failed to mention also, is that several of the victims relatives have also settled out of court with Robinson.

 

I would agree that the bladder tank mod also is yet to be tested in action, and it is the gearbox coming apart after ground contact that is the main problem.............Maj...

 

 

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It was fairly beat up - especially given that at the time of the show all flying R44s have had the tanks replaced so airing it achieved no real gain except they gave the impression nothing had been done and have decreased the likelihood of victims getting legal redress because the show has produced an environment where Robinson will argue they can not get a fair and unbiased trial.I didn't hear it said but I have spoken to number of non aviation people said they believed the report had stated that "EVERY" R 44 that had ever crashed in Australua had had a post impact fire which is completely wrong. But thats the impression they have given the general public. There actually have been very few percentage of the crashes have had a post impact fire. I am not sure but I understand the incidence of post impact fires is not worse than other helicopters - what is different is that the fires that have occurred have been in / from less destructive impacts than most of the fires in other helicopters. So what might have been otherwise survivable was not. It's still a problem - not saying its not but it did have a large amount of appealing to the emotional viewer.

 

R22 s are not subject to the same problem and its probably because the cause seems to actually be the main rotor gear box breaking up and rupturing the tanks. Not the tanks as such. The R22 rotor blades are so much lighter and they buckle and bend with impact and the forces are not transmitted down to the gear box in the same way. The gear boxes usually stay in the frame.

According to Scott Menzies who is very experience pilot in Choppers and is the GM of Gold Coast Helitours. Believes that the R22 should have bladder tanks installed and should have similar/same AD as the R44 has got. He has four R44's and upgraded them last year sometime, well before the deadline. He says that it cost him a lot of money, but safety comes first.

 

 

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Jabba. What's happened in the time since the last accident is irrelevant. The 44's have been incinerating people for years. It's really that simple. I'd like to see evidence to support the notion that other helicopters are as susceptible to soft accident incineration of all on board.

 

The fact is that this choppa had a major flaw, and our regulator, as the American regulator did also, failed to intervene. In a climate where hundreds of aircraft are grounded every day for missin paperwork in the name if ' safety' there's no denying that either a blind eye was turned, or, some one dropped the ball .... Big time...

 

 

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