Lugg of El Gorah: humbly seeking enlightenment

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papillons
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Lugg of El Gorah: humbly seeking enlightenment

Postby papillons » Thu Jun 30 2011, 16:40

There I was...

...at the computer, gobbing off at the Ridiculous Planker Tribe (RPT) on another website, as one does when one is seeking reasons not to bumble through another bloody off-track SDP, when I bit off a smidge more than I could chew. A certain rather high profile heavy skipper popped up for a few timely words on the subject at hand, which was aviation training & safety and the recent Senate Report there-on generally; and specifically, the vexed 'how long is a piece of string' airmanship calculus in play during an airborne systems failure: the practical application of the motherhood advice 'land as soon as safely possible' (yes...quite). As well as demonstrating impeccable decency and class (I'd been a bit rude about him - all in the interests of Oz Aviation safety culture of course!) and giving us some super insights into the incident we were all discussing on the thread, he suggested that if I wanted to check out a 'benchmark example' of the deft handling of that equation, I should scurry away and do a bit of homework on a Huey driver called Brian Lugg, and a folkloric incident at El Gorah, thirty odd years ago. Know (of) the dude but not well enough to know of this backstory (my mouth is much bigger than my CV). But I'd really like to, in as much detail as possible. When a QANTAS captain cites an ancient helo escapade as a specific wellspring in his personal CRM resource base, one drawn on during his own superb, catatrophe-averting leadership of a multicrew crisis...you kind of want to suck those backstory details in. Specially when plugging through your ATPL...

Any Huey drivers of a certain vintage care to pass the port, and enlighten us young(er) 'uns re: Lugg of El Gorah?
Last edited by papillons on Thu Jun 30 2011, 19:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lugg of El Gorah: humbly seeking enlightenment

Postby Dauphin » Thu Jun 30 2011, 18:57

El Gorah is the name of the base in the northern Sinai Desert that Aussies (RAAF and RAN) and Kiwis operated 10 UH-1H's from in the 80's as part of the Multinational Force and Observers - basically a UN type peacekeeping force between Egypt and Israel. Brian Lugg was a RAAF pilot. Sorry but I don't know anything about the incident.
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Re: Lugg of El Gorah: humbly seeking enlightenment

Postby papillons » Thu Jun 30 2011, 19:32

Heya Dauphin: yeah, like you I know of the general background re: el Gorah and the name Brian Lugg as such. (i think he's working for/running the Boeing training contract at Oakey these days...?). But the incident itself sounds gripping, at least going by what this Plank Wrangler says, in this context:

Personally, I used 100% of my knowledge from the RAAF and airline and every bit of knowledge passed to me by fellow pilots over bar chats over the past 35 years on that day – and I then tapped the knowledge of every other pilot on the flight deck. I’ve been using knowledge management tools for 25 years now – never used paper notes in my airline career, and I needed all this info on the day.

200 hour MPLs? There is an interesting discussion for a comparison.

Fear not, the whole story will be revealed in the investigative reports and other reports to come. Your questions are interesting, and I KNOW you will have all your answers.

BTW. I also flew Hueys in the RAAF but never met you. But your questions re land vs hold were answered 27 years ago by a famous RAAF pilot by the name of Brian Lugg in El Gorah – and you should know that story. Brian is a legend in this instance. I look forward to meeting you at the next Avior meeting and discussing the lessons from Brian’s event – all for the cost of a beer.


That's Richard de Crespigny with an inside take on QF 32, the 380 that blew the RR donk on him, his crew and their pax out of Sinkers. (I knew there'd be a helo driver at the bottom of that boys' own hero tale in real life, Dauphin! Bloody media getting it wrong as usual: Headlines should of course have read: CHOPPER PILOT SAVES STOOPID USELESS DEATHTRAP BROKEN PLANK...)

Eric Hunt, can you enlighten us further perchance...?
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Re: Lugg of El Gorah: humbly seeking enlightenment

Postby papillons » Thu Jun 30 2011, 19:44

Sorry, for those wanting more context that discussion was over on the always excellent Ben Sandilands 'Plane Talking' blog at Crikey:

http://blogs.crikey.com.au/planetalking/2011/06/28/qf32-captain-responds-to-discussion-on-pilot-experience/
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Re: Lugg of El Gorah: humbly seeking enlightenment

Postby Bigdog » Thu Jun 30 2011, 20:26

"Ah thats bloody frog s#!t!!"

That is Brian Luggs catch cry. I had it yell at me a number of times of the last 13 years!!
Bloody good bloke that fella. :D
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Re: Lugg of El Gorah: humbly seeking enlightenment

Postby Eric Hunt » Fri Jul 1 2011, 02:27

Paps, I can't help you here - MegaLugg was just a student at Pearce when I knew him and I have never heard of the BeGorra incident. Then again, Richard Champion Discrepancy was also just a student at the same time, and look where he is now.
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Re: Lugg of El Gorah: humbly seeking enlightenment

Postby papillons » Fri Jul 1 2011, 02:54

Hell of a middle name to lumbered with, aint it. Lucky Brian didn't cop that one: he'd be a Champion Lugg. Real bright spark, ho ho.

I once met a German 105 driver in Les Deux Alpes named Miles Offentrak. He couldn't see the funny side. Unusual for a Kraut to lack ze sense of humor...
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Re: Lugg of El Gorah: humbly seeking enlightenment

Postby Twistgrip » Fri Jul 1 2011, 04:04

"You can watch things happen, you can make things happen or you can wonder what happened"
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Re: Lugg of El Gorah: humbly seeking enlightenment

Postby baffler15 » Fri Jul 1 2011, 06:57

Bigdog wrote:"Ah thats bloody frog s#!t!!"

That is Brian Luggs catch cry. I had it yell at me a number of times of the last 13 years!!


Yes, I've heard that a few times myself!!
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Re: Lugg of El Gorah: humbly seeking enlightenment

Postby TwatintheHat » Fri Jul 1 2011, 07:46

http://www.the dark side.org/dg-p-reporting-po ... ff-11.html

Scroll down this link for the full story.
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Re: Lugg of El Gorah: humbly seeking enlightenment

Postby TwatintheHat » Fri Jul 1 2011, 07:47

Except change the site to that which must not be named
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Re: Lugg of El Gorah: humbly seeking enlightenment

Postby papillons » Sun Jul 3 2011, 11:30

Thanks Twatty. This from 'Roller Merlin' over at said Princess Central, folks:

My understanding of the story is that Bluggy conducted a successful "running landing" in an iroquois after suffering a jammed tail rotor at El Gorah in the Sinai mid 80's. After that the Aussie chopper drivers were all sky Gods in the eyes of our pax who had though they were doomed. Pax were all US state dept observers whose job was to ensure the peacekeeping rules were complied with, and Fijian and columbian soldiers who deployed at observation points throughout the desert.

Back then the fling-wing types mostly belonged to the RAAF. We had a sinai peacekeeping detachment in El Gorah, a bombed out Israeli fighter base returned to the gypos in 1982. The were 11 nations based there each with different roles. The ozzies and kiwis (Anzacs) operated the only helo unit flying in the north, whilst sepo army covered helo flying based in the south.

It was common knowledge that we operated very differently to the yanks. We were all fixed wing/jet trained, and our SOPs reflected lessons and experiences from vietnam war to the present. Whilst the differences are another story, it would be safe to surmise the belief amongst the troops and yanks was that if anything nasty happened to the tail rotor operation, the helicopter would undoubtedly crash, as had occurred in virtually all cases in the us army operation. However unlike the yanks we RAAF drivers were far less regimented and amongst other things practiced simulated jammed tail rotor exercises in recurrent training, the result of having a smaller force size with more quality-based training program.

So when Bluggy encountered a jammed tail rotor (I recall it was at night) over the desert, the pax all knew they were done for. There is no room to muck around in such an emergency and slowing too quickly or miscalculation of wind effects can lead to loss of control. The procedure in the huey sets up the aircraft in a long, low approach where the slipstream on the fin balances the main rotor torque - typically at about 40-60 knots with 30-60 degrees of yaw over the fence depending upon the pedal positions. When all is stable across the ground, the throttle is wound off, the yaw reverses and aircraft is dropped on the skids and run along the ground to a stop. I was told in this case there was a nice sparklers show as the skids ran along the old runway which was the only place suitable. Of course when the troops got out without a scratch, they could not believe it was possible as all previous failures had crashed. After that all our desert choppers skids were reinforced with steelplate in case we needed to skate over the tarmac again. In my time there a crew did another running landing at night but I cannot recall the reason.

Of course the huey was originally designed as a throw-away airframe after 1000 hours. When I left choppers, our frames had around 7-8000 hours on them.


To which '35yearpilot' adds:

Roller Merlin - you have most of it.

The part I want to add was that Brian had this failure at altitude en-route about 30 minutes before ETA El Gorah. He knew that although the acft was flying OK at speed, he would lose directional control when he slowed.

All the (generally USA) "orange" observers knew that their home pilots never practiced this failure to touchdown and so did indeed think-know that they would ultimately die.

The observers were not aware that RAAF helicopter pilots were trained to counter all failures of the tail rotor (there were many types of tail rotor failure - each requiring a variant (but grotesque) recovery technique).

Brian took his time. He contacted the instructors at "El Gorah" and discussed how he would make the approach. He circled to burn fuel and to give people at the base time to drive out and light up the runway with their car lights. Only when the fuel was reduced, the runway lit, and the approach thouroughly discussed-briefed inside the acft and on the ground did Brian make his approach.

His landing was impeccable and there was no damage to the acft - other than a few very acceptable scratched skids. Brian was a legend. The Observers "shouted the bar" at El Gorah for weeks.

This incident is a prime example of a very impressively managed emergency and why it's sometimes best to manage-stabilise the machine and crews in flight before panicking and rushing back to land in an unprepared state.
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