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  #201  
Old 02-25-2020, 09:42 PM
Gray Ghost is offline
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Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
It's hard to get the software to recreate what was out there. IMO it was way too clear a view.

Forget the helicopter for a moment. Imagine you're driving on a foggy day. If you look straight up the gradient amount of fog is impossible to judge. It's just gray. Looking laterally into the distance it's patchy and as you drive your visibility increases and decreases along the way. The difference is that you can usually see the road you're on as a reference point because your eyes are a few feet above it and it comes with directional lines. You only need to see a few feet down and 100 feet forward. But in the air there is no road nearby. It's just gray. The major reference point in a VFR flight (Visual Flight Rules) is the horizon. If the fog is patchy then that reference point disappears. All that is left is the ground below. Everything on the ground is beyond your 3 dimensional visual range so you have no sense of depth or distance. If you've driven in marginal foggy weather then imagine that at 150 mph. that's why airplanes have all those gauges. They take the guess work out of flying.

I still wonder if the pilot had experienced a medical event. It's pretty easy to fly into marginal weather and it's not a big deal to fly off the instruments to maintain control of the plane even as a VFR only pilot. The modern GPS systems available for aviation are ridiculously easy to use and I can't imagine the pilot didn't have it set up to take the load off navigation. He could have flown +/- a few feet in any direction with little effort.
I may have cued the wrong video from the guy. In the one I thought I cued, besides the fog and track, the author mentions speaking to a helicopter pilot who told him the incident pilot may have been looking down and to his right to program some panel near his right thigh. Thus triggering spatial disorientation, in a situation where, AIUI, plenty of unpracticed, yet nominally qualified, instrument pilots have trouble when they inadvertently enter IFR.

I agree that it shouldn't be a problem for a trained pilot to inadvertently enter IFR. Throw task saturation, the fact they were likely running late (judging by the 10-15 minutes burning circles near the Burbank control area), and that he might have picked up some vertigo if he was expecting to fiddle with the right thigh panel, and have a horizon still when he lifted his head: I can see a screwup like this happening.

I mentioned awhile ago in the thread, the variety of instrumentation likely available to the pilot, like synthetic vision or whatever Garmin or Collins was calling it when they introduced blended terrain maps to artificial horizons. Look at that. And if the brown is above the blue, stop doing that.
  #202  
Old 02-25-2020, 10:04 PM
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Down and to his left, thus rolling and turning left. Most helicopters are piloted from the right seat.
  #203  
Old 02-26-2020, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Pork Rind View Post
Down and to his left, thus rolling and turning left. Most helicopters are piloted from the right seat.
Wow, ignorance fought. The one and only time I've ridden in a helicopter (police Jet Ranger on a fun flight), I sat in the front right seat, and the pilot sat in the left.

I was told of the dire consequences if I touched anything,. It worked. I was so overwhelmed by the view and the speed, I forgot that the microphone switch for the intercom was on the floor. Hell of a view.
  #204  
Old 02-27-2020, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
I still wonder if the pilot had experienced a medical event. It's pretty easy to fly into marginal weather and it's not a big deal to fly off the instruments to maintain control of the plane even as a VFR only pilot. The modern GPS systems available for aviation are ridiculously easy to use and I can't imagine the pilot didn't have it set up to take the load off navigation. He could have flown +/- a few feet in any direction with little effort.
I kind of like this theory. Explains a lot. None of the various other explanations adequately explain to me why there would have been was appear to be some pretty abrupt changes in speed and direction.
  #205  
Old 02-28-2020, 03:35 AM
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Apologies if I've missed it (quite likely), but I'm seeing references to heavy fog and crashing at 150mph - why didn't the pilot slow down and then maintain a hover while trying to reorientate themselves/gain visibility? Obviously this isn't an option in a fixed wing aircraft, but if I were a helicopter pilot, that's what I'd be aiming for. Or is it because getting to that stage is difficult in a helicopter when you're already disorientated in zero visibility?
  #206  
Old 02-28-2020, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Dead Cat View Post
Apologies if I've missed it (quite likely), but I'm seeing references to heavy fog and crashing at 150mph - why didn't the pilot slow down and then maintain a hover while trying to reorientate themselves/gain visibility? Obviously this isn't an option in a fixed wing aircraft, but if I were a helicopter pilot, that's what I'd be aiming for. Or is it because getting to that stage is difficult in a helicopter when you're already disorientated in zero visibility?
Well that's pretty much the question.

A commercial helicopter pilot's input would be helpful. It's probably a different thought process. Personally, I love flying with an Ipad backing up the plane's navigation system. It's like having a navigator sitting next to you.
  #207  
Old 02-28-2020, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
Well that's pretty much the question.

A commercial helicopter pilot's input would be helpful. It's probably a different thought process. Personally, I love flying with an Ipad backing up the plane's navigation system. It's like having a navigator sitting next to you.
not a commercial pilot but flew Huey's in the Army for five years and instrument rated. To hover one needs to have a visual reference to know if you are holding stable. In clouds with no reference you'd be drifting and not know it.
  #208  
Old 02-28-2020, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by rsat3acr View Post
not a commercial pilot but flew Huey's in the Army for five years and instrument rated. To hover one needs to have a visual reference to know if you are holding stable. In clouds with no reference you'd be drifting and not know it.
You were flying a 1000+ hp turbine helicopter. I'd say that was in the same league if not quite as fast as the one in question.

On a clear day in a slower fixed wing plane I'm still flying off instruments even if I'm wandering around sightseeing. If I make a turn I look at the artificial horizon out of habit. It's the fastest reacting gauge and gives the most feedback to control input.

Is this not the case flying a helicopter?
  #209  
Old 03-02-2020, 06:05 AM
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Foreflight is very nice -- being able to see other traffic (even planes without ADS-B out) is very handy. Of course I still look outside the windows.

Brian
  #210  
Old 03-02-2020, 08:17 AM
rsat3acr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
You were flying a 1000+ hp turbine helicopter. I'd say that was in the same league if not quite as fast as the one in question.

On a clear day in a slower fixed wing plane I'm still flying off instruments even if I'm wandering around sightseeing. If I make a turn I look at the artificial horizon out of habit. It's the fastest reacting gauge and gives the most feedback to control input.

Is this not the case flying a helicopter?
most of our flying was VFR, but yes I looked at the artificial horizon frequently. I assume their helicopter had out of ground effect hovering capabilities at the time. I was taught that in those situations you switch to an IFR flight plan. I've not followed the situation closely but going up is usually better then going down. My assumption is the pilot got disoriented and things cascaded from there.
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