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Eurocopter EC-130 crash near Mt Disappointment, Vic 31/03/2022


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A Eurocopter (Airbus) EC-130 operated by Microflite Moorabbin, similar to the one pictured below,  with five persons on board, crashed in rugged country and bad weather near Blairs Hut, Mt Disappointment, north of Melbourne. Police personnel have been lowered into the crash site.

 

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This has been getting big exposure in Melbourne with Channel 9 at one stage having two reporters on the scene at Mount Disappointment as well as one at the desk giving summaries.

Vicpol also have a helicopter and semi trailer office, and ATSB have senior people.

ATSB will be examining the helicopter for component failure and using a drone to track the final path, and the weather will all be examined.

What is intriguing me is that based on a Melbourne pick up, and depending on how the pilot exited the Melbourne area, there's only one small clump of bush, about 22 km across on the tail end of the Great Dividing Range on its possible path.

 

 

 

Xhelicopter.jpg

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That "tail end of bush" contained terrain in excess of 700M elevation (Mt Disappointment is 800M, Blairs Hut is 729M elevation) - and this terrain was reported as being in low cloud cover on the day of the crash.

The second helicopter travelling with the crash helicopter reported an alarm when the crash helicopter "did not re-appear after entering low cloud" (in the region of Blairs Hut).

The primary indications are that weather conditions and piloting error will show up as the major factors in this crash, rather than any mechanical failure. It's not like Microflite ran junk for aircraft, they have a top class fleet, and a good record.

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17 minutes ago, onetrack said:

That "tail end of bush" contained terrain in excess of 700M elevation (Mt Disappointment is 800M, Blairs Hut is 729M elevation) - and this terrain was reported as being in low cloud cover on the day of the crash.

The second helicopter travelling with the crash helicopter reported an alarm when the crash helicopter "did not re-appear after entering low cloud" (in the region of Blairs Hut).

The primary indications are that weather conditions and piloting error will show up as the major factors in this crash, rather than any mechanical failure. It's not like Microflite ran junk for aircraft, they have a top class fleet, and a good record.

What's hard to understand is that Kilmore Gap (between Kilmore and Wallan would only have required a slight deviation to the west. On a bad weather day virtually every northbound pilot out of Melbourne would have planned for Kilmore Gap, and usually the radio is full of requests on what the Gap is like because it lets traffic through that would otherwise have to turn back. Sam for the southbound traffic so it's a busy place.

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The most tragic part about this event is that it didn’t need to happen!😞

I feel for the pax, they had no say in their demise😞
Sadly it will happen again😞

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

Well, the ATSB preliminary report is out, and all I can say, it doesn't look too good for that young pilot - nor for his level of training. Flying into a wall of cloud whilst on VFR has killed a lot of people.

 

It's unfortunate a post crash fire consumed a lot of the aircraft. However it appears there was an Appareo camera on board which could provide some further information. 

Appareo claim their onboard image recording systems are pretty crashproof. I guess we'll soon find out, how true that claim is.

 

https://www.atsb.gov.au/media/news-items/2022/mt-disappointment-prelim/

 

Edited by onetrack
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One of the interesting points to be taken from this crash, is that the helicopter involved in the crash, passed below the second helicopter at about 3,500' (which had already done a 180° turnback, and was at 3650'), whilst still travelling North on its planned flight path.

 

Mt Disappointment is listed at 810M elevation (2657'), and Blairs hut is 727M elevation (2385M). The pilot of the crash helicopter obviously thought he was sitting pretty at 3500', to be able to avoid the dreaded "cumulus granitus".

 

But the tracking shows the crash helicopter entering a "left descending turn" prior to impacting a large "old growth tree trunk" at what must approximate, say around 780M (2560') - meaning the crash helicopter lost around 1000' in height within a very short time after entering the cloud bank.

I cannot understand why the pilot of the crash aircraft did not pick up this rapid and substantial loss of altitude, but I would have to opine he was distracted from his instruments in an attempt to regain visual sightings - all the while being affected by spatial disorientation.

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They were damned lucky they didn’t collide mid-air!

seems the only malfunction that day was the crashed helo driver! 
The stress in the still flying driver would have been increasing rapidly full knowing that it was likely his mate had taken 4 others to their deaths!

Do we ever learn from these totally avoidable events? Nope, never do!😞

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Posted (edited)

Most think accidents only happen to OTHER People. There's a lot of boredom in flying, but it CAN go pearshaped quickly. Nev

Edited by facthunter
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