25 May 2006

When Bad Things Happen........

He was 64.

His passenger was a member of his extended family.
In an article for the local newspaper, his daughter called him "The Best Pilot".

This is why ferrying a helicopter East from California comes with a certain amount of stress.

This pilot apparently had 7500 hours in his logbook.......1200 of those were in the type aircraft mentioned in the report.
It's a puzzle why this would happen to an experienced pilot, flying an aircraft in which he should have been very comfortable.



I would expect there is a bit of tension at the manufacturing site.

Anonymous said...

What causes the tail section to separate ? Your description of the pilot's vast experience imply that this was somehow caused by the pilot. But, after only five hours the aircraft goes to pieces ? What gives ?

Greybeard said...


Yeah, it's certainly cause for concern, but this sort of thing has happened before, so there is a track record, and it's almost always pilot error.

The Robinson helicopter has a rotor system on it similar to the Huey, the JetRanger, the Cobra, etc......the U.S. Army was the first to begin to notice a problem with these machines.

I don't want to bore you with details, but this rotor system must NEVER be subjected to less than 1/2 "G".
Flown normally, it's as docile as anything flying.

But approach a "near weightless" condition, and strange things can happen.
Several R22's and R44's have crashed because the pilot didn't avoid this regime.

Obviously, there is an investigation going on as to why this machine crashed, and why these two men are dead. But on it's face, it sounds very similar to some other accidents involving this type of rotor system.

I'll keep my ears open, and let you know what I hear.


The 1/2 G explanation is interesting. Never knew that. Sometime, if you have the time, it would be interesting to hear how this is accomplished while flying.

Mike Poole said...

I had a dream about flying a Huey the other night. I had convinced the owner that I knew how to fly it but he was doubtful...

Ironically (or coincidentally) I remember in the dream that Greybeard was telling me about not doing a negative-g pushover because the blades could lop off the tail.

Here is a great article about 'mast bumping'. Twin-rotors are nice and smooth, but I still prefer a rigid or semi-rigid rotor system.