A helicopter carrying 13 folks got here inside 4 metres of ditching within the Atlantic because it was attempting to land on an offshore platform in July 2019, the Transportation Security Board stated Tuesday.
The 2 pilots aboard the Sikorsky S-92A helicopter, operated by Canadian Helicopters Offshore, had tried two approaches utilizing instrument flight guidelines, however they couldn’t land due to low clouds and poor visibility, in response to a report by the federal company.
The flight crew then noticed the platform, seen above a fog layer, and tried a “non-standard visible method,” the report stated.
Larry McWha, a retired navy helicopter pilot, stated a non-standard method signifies that the pilots flew towards the platform in a method that was not really helpful.
“When you descend into the fog, you lose your visible references,” McWha stated in an interview Tuesday. “There’s no horizon anymore. And in the event that they overpassed the rig, they’d haven’t any reference there.”
The offshore rig, generally known as the Thebaud Central Facility, is about 290 kilometres east of Halifax and was a part of the Sable Offshore Vitality Venture. Manufacturing ceased in December 2018.
The impartial company stated that because the helicopter approached the helideck in low-visibility situations, the pilots inadvertently allowed the plane to descend too rapidly.
“They had been going at a comparatively sluggish pace, which signifies to me a vertical descent, making an attempt to take care of visible contact with the rig as they descended into the fog layer,” McWha stated.
The board’s investigation decided that through the last method, the helicopter was flying at a low energy setting, which the flight crew didn’t discover.
“The helicopter’s low-energy state went undetected by the flight crew, who had been targeted on the helideck, which was sitting above the fog and in an space with out a discernible horizon,” the report stated. “The degraded visible atmosphere made it tough for the pilots to acknowledge the unstable method.
A ‘shut name for everyone’
The security board stated that through the speedy descent, the helicopter’s engines had been over-revved because the flight crew elevated energy to regain management simply above the water.
“The story that’s depicted right here implies that they realized they had been heading right into a grave scenario and tried to get each ounce of horsepower they might and so they saved the scenario,” McWha, who has expertise touchdown helicopters on ships and offshore rigs, stated.
“They clearly misplaced contact with the horizon and the impediment they had been attempting to land on and needed to get out of there. It appears like a detailed name for everyone.”
There have been no accidents and the plane safely returned to Halifax Stanfield Worldwide Airport that day. The report doesn’t say something about potential mechanical failure.
“The pilots had been in management and so they nearly did an inadvertent ditching,” McWha stated.
As nicely, the report stated the pilot who was flying the helicopter had engaged the so-called cyclic trim launch, which decreased the effectiveness of the automated flight management system and “contributed to regulate difficulties.”
Neither the helicopter producer’s flight guide nor the operator’s customary working procedures warned of the potential hazards of utilizing of the trim launch in low-visibility situations.
There was no indication how a lot harm was accomplished to the “over-torqued” engines as a result of the plane was faraway from service after the incident on July 24, 2019.
© 2021 The Canadian Press
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