ATSB final report into H369 crash in SA.

General stuff that gets thrown about when Helicopter Pilots shoot the Breeze.
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ATSB final report into H369 crash in SA.

Postby Worzel_Gummidge » Fri Aug 3 2018, 07:03

Received this from the ATSB today regarding the Airpower H500/H369/MD369 (or whatever you call it) crash in S.A. in 2016.

To Whom It May Concern:

The ATSB is issuing a safety advisory notice to Air Operator Certificate holders of aircraft not greater than 5700 kg maximum take-off weight (MTOW). The ATSB encourages these operators to ensure they provide instructions and procedures for crosschecking the quantity of fuel on board before and/or during flight to reduce the risk of a fuel exhaustion event.

For more information on the advisory notice read the ATSB’s final investigation report - ... -2016-078/

I guess these sorts of accidents are the reason Part 133 is going to have a requirement to monitor and record your fuel state at regular intervals in flight!

The report states that...

The pilot reported that he was always taught not to trust fuel quantity indicators and he would therefore manage the helicopter’s endurance ‘on the clock’

I've heard several pilots over the years say that and must admit I've never quite understood that logic. They trust their torque gauge, their TOT gauge, the Ng indication, the airspeed indicator, the altimeter but for some reason you can't trust these mysterious fuel gauges! If you're operating an aircraft that permits crosschecking via a dipstick, or visually if the tank is full, then go for it, but for most turbine helicopters the fuel gauge is the only way to gauge your fuel level when it is less than full.
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Eric Hunt
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Re: ATSB final report into H369 crash in SA.

Postby Eric Hunt » Fri Aug 3 2018, 08:01

Sure, fuel gauges can be deceptive, but to TEACH a pilot not to trust it is almost criminal.

In the old Hueys, there was a main tank at the back of the seats, and there were 2 underfloor tanks with boost pumps - often one was air-driven (big pressure, up to 35psi) and one electrical (could be as low as 4psi) so the side with the air pump would run out of fuel before the other - but the quantity gauge was in the electric pump side, and its logic would double whatever reading it had to assume that the other side was the same.

Bong. Wrong. The end result was that the fuel burn appeared normal, around 600lb/hr, until the rear tank was gone, then suddenly the gauge would seem to slow down, while the left side was used first with all the pressure, then suddenly the rate appeared to speed up as the right side was used and multiplied by 2. The end result was, we had to have a good fuel rate recorded and our endurance plotted before we went onto the underfloor tanks, or else we would be sadly surprised.
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Re: ATSB final report into H369 crash in SA.

Postby flyhuey » Mon Aug 6 2018, 01:59

I've never quite understood that logic.

Accident waiting to happen. Especially to espouse that lack of logic.

The Fuel Quantity Indicator is a reference instrument. Many factors can influence the Indication.

In a Hughes 269 or light recip helicopter, there would be no excuse for not visually checking the Fuel Quantity before takeoff, verify it with the Gauge indication. In a turbine, like the Hughes 500, AS355, Jet ranger, Iroquois, more difficult, when the fuel is not lapping at the filler neck, but it should cause a Pilot to be more suspicious about the exact quantity and not trusting , what someone tells you, or what the gauge indicates. Is the aircraft level? Is the fuel cold soaked and more dense? When was the last calibration done, during maintenance? Have you ever noticed that your own body weight will change High Pressure versus Low Pressure? If you have never held an aircraft maintainer's licence and never serviced a Fuel measuring and indicating system, then you would not appreciate all the sh!t that can go wrong.

Going across the Pacific or any other large body of nothingness, Fuel Consumption versus Indication is checked very closely . . . at recorded. Elapsed Time is part of that equation.

Fuel Starvation accidents happen in all sizes and weights of aircraft, fixed and rotary, far too often. You as the Pilot-in-Command or Co- must know the rate of fuel consumption or have a damned good idea what your aircraft's fuel consumption is for various configurations, various weights, various altitudes/FLs, Heater On vs Off, Engine Anti-ice On vs. Off, APU On and for how long (under load or not), build-up of frost and ice causing drag, outside air temperature, etc. It takes time to know your aircraft AND, each aircraft of the same type, same engine model, will have a different Fuel Consumption, if only slightly.

ATSB is spot on, in this instance.

When a Pilot fails to follow the rules, use skills that should have been learned during Helicopter/Aeroplane Flying 101 or use common sense, then expect C.A.S.A. to tighten the thumb screws . . . Just what the Australian aviation industry needs is more regulation! Christ!

Work out how much fuel is consumed:
Climb to a particular Altitude or Flight Level
various Cruise conditions

NEVER let some Chief Pilot or Owner tell you what you need for Fuel. YOU as Pilot-in-Command decide and not be pressured. YOU, as Pilot-in-Command/Captain discuss your decision-making with your Co=Pilot/First Officer.

When in doubt, divert to the nearest suitable airport or land even if in some farmer's field or on a ridgeline, or whatever, rather than trying to "stretch it". The more stress and pressure you put yourself under, the more likely you will fcuk up, because you will not be thinking clearly.

You guys and your attitudes set me off.
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Re: ATSB final report into H369 crash in SA.

Postby Mongrel Dog » Mon Aug 6 2018, 05:56

flyhuey wrote:You guys and your attitudes set me off.

Right back at you champ.
If you find it so vexing here, don’t come. Pretty simple really.
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Re: ATSB final report into H369 crash in SA.

Postby SuperF » Mon Aug 6 2018, 09:18

I think the wisdom has been lost in interpretation.

I was taught "don't trust a fuel gauge", as per the below stipulations.

1. Until it is reading minimum fuel, then land the damn helicopter!
2. Always assume that it is over reading, unless you have done the dip, or filled from empty, then trust it, if it is reducing at the right rate, then its probably ok.
3. Always measure your fuel in, and time your fuel out. You should always know your time to land, no matter what the gauge says.

so someone has heard one of the old sayings "don't trust your fuel gauge" and misinterpreted it to be, "don't trust the gauge when it reads empty!!!" that i just cannot believe.
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Re: ATSB final report into H369 crash in SA.

Postby County » Mon Aug 6 2018, 14:48

Fuel gauges work pretty well today in well maintained aircraft. Cross referencing against time flown, really no excuse for running out of fuel.
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Re: ATSB final report into H369 crash in SA.

Postby bangequalsbad » Tue Aug 7 2018, 07:37

flyhuey wrote:If you have never held an aircraft maintainer's licence and never serviced a Fuel measuring and indicating system, then you would not appreciate all the sh!t that can go wrong.

Welcome back you irrelevant old man! I guess judging by your statement above that there is no point in learning anything you don't already know. Cool. Excellent input.

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