If the autopilot is coupled to the flight director, the autopilot can change the attitude to respond to flight director commands. These conditions “typically occur over water or over dark, featureless terrain where the only visual stimuli are lights located on and/or near the airport or landing zone”. The collective FTR was engaged from about 01:52:03 until 01:52:28 as the collective was raised from 4% to 71%, at which point the aircraft was about 40 ft off the ground and moving forward with 2 kts of groundspeed.

However, due to the helicopter’s increasing forward speed, the pitch angle had the potential to be misinterpreted to the point that the pilot could have perceived a nose up attitude for the entirety of the flight, even while nose down and descending rapidly. When visual contact with the horizon is lost, the vestibular system becomes unreliable. The EGPWS announced “warning terrain” eight times until the aircraft climbed above 150 ft again (01:53:04). ", © 2020, Access Intelligence, LLC. However, like all accelerometers, the vestibular system cannot distinguish between load factors due to motion versus load factors due to gravity.

A further search was organised and the wreckage was located offshore that afternoon in about 16 ft of water about 1.2 nm NNE of the departure point. “Following confirmation of the complete craft at the site, analysis and further documentation including sampling and removal of certain parts / components will occur, where these parts or components will be sent to other facilities (as appropriate) for further analysis under more controlled conditions.”. However, the chief pilot could not recall any specific situations when pilots discussed with him safety, fatigue, or operations issues with the aircraft. Three of the severed blades were recovered. Wreckage of the AW139 helicopter has been recovered from the ocean two miles from Grand Cay, Bahamas. The PIC commented about an instrument display value of “300” shortly after the helicopter’s vertical speed passed 300 ft/min. Cline took coal mining firm Foresight Energy public in 2014, and sold a controlling stake in 2015 for $1.4 billion.

He said that it was not uncommon to be contacted by the CEO at different times of the day and night, and that pilots were on-call waiting to receive phone calls or texts by the CEO. The helicopter was believed to be transporting Cline, his daughter Kameron, and several of her friends after Kameron Cline experienced a medical issue. NTSB compared the actual pitch angle, the calculated ‘apparent pitch angle’ the flight crew would have sensed, along with the longitudinal cyclic inputs. The NTSB analysis will no doubt examine the flight in relation to local regulations too. Just minutes later, the aircraft crashed in shallow water, killing all aboard. Canadian officials — where the Pratt & Whitney PT6 engines are built — also are assisting the investigation, according to the AAIB.

The vestibular system of the inner ear allows a person to have a sense of balance and spatial orientation.

Just as the helicopter’s ascent slowed and it reached its maximum altitude, “warning terrain” annunciations resumed from 01:53:11.7 to after the impact with the water. The helicopter climbed to an initial maximum altitude of 190 ft at a groundspeed of 55 kts, an indicated airspeed of 68 kts, and a collective position of 72%. The Stability Augmentation System (SAS) is active whenever the autopilot is engaged; the SAS damps the effects of the short-term external aircraft disturbances. On board the helicopter were two pilots, coal billionaire Chris Cline, his daughter, and three of her friends. The tail rotor assembly, which was also separated was subsequently recovered. Generally, at night it is difficult to see clouds and restrictions to visibility, particularly on dark nights or under overcast. The FAA reported the helicopter was on initial climb and operating as a personal flight.

The AW139 originally lifted off from Palm Beach International Airport just before 1 a.m. and had picked up the passengers on Grand Cay about a minute before the helicopter crashed at 1:54 a.m., the report said. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

According to the NTSB, the AW139 crashed shortly after lifting off from a private helipad in the Bahamas shortly before 2 a.m. on a private medical evacuation flight to Fort Lauderdale, killing the pilots and five passengers. Investigators to travel to Big Grand Cay today to probe crash. All scenarios were recorded by video so that the simulation could be reviewed in the future. The NTSB Human Performance Factual Report explains that Challenger Management at that time operated this AW139 and four fixed wing aircraft (an ERJ 190, EMB 550, EMB 505 and a Cessna 208), seemingly all for Chris Cline. Demonstration included 10 pilot-in-the loop scenarios that focused on the pilot’s ability to utilize various flight modes in conjunction with manipulating cyclic, collective, and pedal flight controls. They then completed recurrent training 12-16 November 2018. He required pilots to discuss with him any issues they had with fatigue, safety, or operating the aircraft and they did. Sadly the show has been postponed due to COVID-19: Copyright © Legal and Privacy | Sitemap. The study concludes: “While longitudinal input was not initially different from the prior 10 flights, the combination of high collective input and increasingly forward longitudinal cyclic inputs lead to significant nose-down attitudes during the flight that led to losses of altitude. There is no mention of any flight following or emergency response procedures in place. The aircraft was losing altitude, gaining speed, and in a nose down attitude. The PIC of the AW139 managed the helicopter operation and the Chief Pilot reported little interaction or oversight. The length of the flight was 62 seconds, and it covered approximately 1.4 NM. An AW139 SAR helicopter crashed while on a mission to airlift an injured man from Jebel Jais in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. A second pilot aboard, David Jude, 57, was employed by Cline. The AW139 has been the subject of EASA and FAA airworthiness directives, including one a decade ago, which mandated periodic inspections and repairs of the aircraft after reports of de-laminations of tail boom assemblies. The collective FTR was generally disengaged after the collective had been raised to its flight position. (Bahamas Air Accident Investigation Department Photo). | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Content Policy. The final annunciations of “bank angle” and “rotor low, rotor low” occurred after the aircraft entered the water. Send Feedback | @SharkParsons, Wreckage of the AW139 that crashed in the Bahamas on July 4, killing seven passengers, is recovered from the Atlantic Ocean.

However, the NTSB has yet to issue a final report or conclude a probable cause of the accident. Posted by Aerossurance on Aug 23, 2020 in Accidents & Incidents, Business Aviation, Helicopters, Human Factors / Performance, Safety Management | 0 comments.
The helicopter was registered to a company controlled by Cline, Challenger Management of Beckley, West Virginia.

Regarding pilot fatigue reporting, there was no system in place to report fatigue other than contacting the chief pilot and using ‘common sense’. For all five blades, the outboard ends of the upper and lower tension links remained attached to the pitch control lever and the inboard end of the main rotor blades.

By Frank Wolfe | July 25, 2019 Ten of those flights were daylight, the other four could not be determined. Aerossurance’s Andy Evans helped prepare this short educational SKYclip video for the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) on Helicopter Somatogravic Illusions: Aerossurance was to have run training workshops at the EHA European Rotors VTOL Show and Safety Conference in Cologne in November 2020 on a) Safety Culture and Leadership and b) Contracting Aviation Services: An Introduction to the Basics. This used data from the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR). The flight director mode for pitch transitioned to IAS, and the flight director mode for roll became heading select, which later transitioned to LNAV.

The speed dropped slightly to near 100 kts. About 15 hours later, local residents in the Bahamas found the aircraft inverted about 1.5 miles from the crash site in 16 feet of water. Twenty-three seconds before impact, the PIC appears to recognize and momentarily recover from pitch down attitude, acknowledging, "Yeah, we were diving," before reinitiating it.

The Bahamas Air Accident Investigation Division, Department of Civil Aviation, the Royal Bahamas Police, and the Defense Force are investigating, along with technical assistance from the FAA, Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB), and Leonardo. Bahamas AW139 Crash Kills Seven. Both sponsons had either broken off or been removed prior to shipment to the US. Pre-accident photographs suggest the aircraft was not fitted with external liferafts. However, the accident flight had the most collective input and highest power index for much of the first 30 seconds of flight.

Wreckage of AW139 N32CC off Big Grand Cay, Bahamas (Credit: Police/AAID via NTSB), Salvage of Challenger Management AW139 N32CC off Big Grand Cay, Bahamas (Credit: AAID via NTSB). Speed increased (groundspeed to 110 kts, airspeed to 116 kts) while collective remained relatively constant near 72%. The FTR switch was engaged for pitch and roll for the entirety of the flight.

Leonardo Helicopters builds the AW139 and is aiding the NTSB in the investigation, along with Canadian officials — where the Pratt & Whitney PT6 engines are built, according to the Bahamas Air Accident Investigation Department. No pre-impact aircraft defects are been identified in the Airworthiness Factaul Report. Main Rotor Blades AW139 N32CC (Credit: NTSB).

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