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Old 01-29-2020, 11:16 AM   #21  
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It appears he clipped the very top of the ridge and was 20-30 away from salvaging it.
Tail and main portion of the wreckage are on different sides of the crest.
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Old 01-29-2020, 12:10 PM   #22  
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F/W dude here, who's admittedly out of his element in analyzing this accident. Though I'd really be interested in hearing from someone who regularly operates helos in the LA basin to understand if IFR ops there are even a practical option. I could believe that ATC congestion might wipe out the whole time/convenience argument of flying a helo in the first place. But at the same time, if there was ever a day when going to the trouble of filing and then just flying in the clouds (vs. trying to avoid them) would have been the safer route, it was a day like last Sunday.
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Old 01-29-2020, 12:19 PM   #23  
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Originally Posted by Smokey23 View Post
F/W dude here, who's admittedly out of his element in analyzing this accident. Though I'd really be interested in hearing from someone who regularly operates helos in the LA basin to understand if IFR ops there are even a practical option. I could believe that ATC congestion might wipe out the whole time/convenience argument of flying a helo in the first place. But at the same time, if there was ever a day when going to the trouble of filing and then just flying in the clouds (vs. trying to avoid them) would have been the safer route, it was a day like last Sunday.
We do it all the time but typically its easier to just follow the freeways VFR like the mishap aircraft did. ATC is great and treats us like any other IFR-filed folks when we do file. So yes, very practical, just not usually necessary (maybe its this attitude that leads to events such as this). Special VFR isnt a problem, but once you get into the hills its easy to get stuck should conditions catch you. Id imagine its largely dictated by company SOPs and protocols, not to mention any perceived sense of urgency to get the guy where he needed to be. Again, this is from a military point of view with zero corporate helicopter experience.
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Old 01-29-2020, 10:57 PM   #24  
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Originally Posted by TiredSoul View Post
It appears he clipped the very top of the ridge and was 20-30 away from salvaging it.
Tail and main portion of the wreckage are on different sides of the crest.
That unfortunately echos a vast number of CFIT accidents. So many of them just so "barely" didn't make it to clear the top of the mountain/ridge.
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Old 01-29-2020, 11:11 PM   #25  
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That unfortunately echos a vast number of CFIT accidents. So many of them just so "barely" didn't make it to clear the top of the mountain/ridge.
So true... Id welcome a corporate helo perspective here.
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Old 01-30-2020, 07:44 AM   #26  
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...was 20-30 away from salvaging it.
Highly, highly unlikely. True, he hit just below a crest of a small ridge, but that ridge was surrounded by other much higher ridges. Factor in that he was descending at 2000fpm (disoriented and out of control), the fact that he hit 20-30 below a ridge was pure, well, I dont want to say coincident but he had to hit somewhere. As a former Navy helo pilot and prior S-76 pilot in the Gulf of Mexico where we flew IFR routinely during the winter, I dont understand how he lost control so easily. He did the wrong thing by scud running in those hills, but then he did the right thing by getting on the gauges and trying to climb above the terrain. If he was rated/current/proficient on instruments, he should have been able to pull that off.
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Old 01-30-2020, 07:49 AM   #27  
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It appears he clipped the very top of the ridge and was 20-30 away from salvaging it.
Tail and main portion of the wreckage are on different sides of the crest.
As Tandem46 mentioned, and described in the NTSB brief there were other, some higher, peaks in that area too.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=...&v=Vwk6NaQSuPA
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:17 AM   #28  
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Not familiar with the locals terrain.
Did hear a blurb on the news that the operator only had a VFR 135 certificate.
In which case the pressure to continue may even have been higher.
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:29 AM   #29  
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There was a kids basketball game to get to that started in 1 hour. Sadly, that was the pressure.
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:56 AM   #30  
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Originally Posted by TiredSoul View Post
Not familiar with the locals terrain.
Did hear a blurb on the news that the operator only had a VFR 135 certificate.
In which case the pressure to continue may even have been higher.
Don't know what a guy with that kind of money was doing using a single-pilot VFR operator in a cloud-prone area. The pilot's certs and ratings seem pretty basic, not sure if you'd expect a professional helo pilot to have perhaps some heavier type ratings?
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