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Discussion in 'Aviation Mishaps' started by Kenny Phillips, May 2, 2020.
"Gunshots were fired near the scene of the crash about an hour after the wreckage was discovered, Acevedo said. Six people have been taken into custody."
Considering that the helicopter was looking for bodies in the bayou ...
I believe the accident helicopter is N8375F, which reportedly took damage from a "high-powered" rifle in 2016.
Forget it, eman. It's H-Town.
This is the Greenspoint area of Houston. I'm not surprised one bit.
"Gunspoint" as it is colloquially called.
The spotter on that helo was a member of another forum I am on. RIP, brother.
LTE (Loss of Tail Rotor Effectiveness)
They were in a slow tight orbit over the scene. During a turn just enough of the MR wash came into contact with the TR, and momentary LTE happened. I'm sure it startled the PIC and he didn't react, which started the helicopter rotating.
I've seen this exact same scenario with another LEO helicopter.
May well be a case of LTE, definitely possible, been there myself a few times...
Video of the crash
Linkie no workie
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I am sorry I watched that.
I would be somewhat skeptical that the aircraft was brought down by gunfire from a 5.56mm rifle unless it was the most (un)lucky of all shots. Earlier versions of these aircraft seemed to withstand multiple small arms caliber penetrations of the airframe in combat operations with few, if any, of these actually causing this type of loss of control and resultant accident unless the pilot operating the aircraft moreso than the aircraft itself was struck by the projectile.
LTE is a more likely cause, although these aircraft were known for their maneuverability when operated on what used to be called "Hunter-Killer" teams consisting of AH-1 and OH-6 aircraft in which case the OH-6 was the moral equivalent of the Air Force's "Wild Weasel" in that their primary purpose was to attract fire from ground positions and then evade, hopefully without damage or injury to crewmembers so as to allow the AH-1 gunships to engage the target.
The transition course at Vung Tau (which seemed to be much more realistic than any conducted at Ft. Rucker either back then or even now) required some pretty intense evasive maneuvers in the aircraft and they seemed to withstand these being conducted by low-time in type rated aviators without sustaining damage from the aerodynamic anomalies that the RSP's could create for them.
I have not seen too much more information on the aircraft accident itself, but I would suspect that there was a failure of one of the flight control systems that resulted in the loss of control and impact with the structure perhaps moreso than LTE.
These LEO helicopters will enter a slow tight orbit above a scene. Depending upon prevailing winds, it is possible to get the MR wash to cross and interfere with the TR. That momentary loss of tail rotor effectiveness, and the tail taking a big swing is alarming, and if the pilot is not ready for it, the momentary disbelief allows the helicopter to complete a revolution. Once past this if the pilot is still not reacting the spinning increases.
It can be flown out of by forward cyclic and lowering collective. But again, coupling night flight, on top of a scene and focusing on what is on the ground is a distraction.
This is not a first time for an LEO helicopter. I am familiar with another accident with a OH58 in which the pilot did the exact same thing, went into LTE, and as he was headed down pulled collective. He managed to fly out of it, but in the process he severely damaged the helicopter, to the point of it being declared a total loss. That PIC was like the PIC of the helicopter under discussion, an LEO with relative low time and experience. LE Agencies tend to take LEO's and train them to be helicopter pilots, rather than hire helicopter pilots to become LEO's. The result is a low time and experience pilot at the controls.