PDA

View Full Version : Sad Day: Marines and Coast Guard Helo/Herk Crash



mugaliens
2009-Oct-30, 08:17 PM
AP: ":SAN DIEGO A Marine attack helicopter that collided with a Coast Guard search plane off Southern California was one of four helicopters flying in formation to deliver Marines to a training island.

All nine crew members from the airplane and helicopter remain missing Friday."

Source (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_midair_collision)

C-130: Between 100,000 lbs and 142,000 lbs, depending on fuel

AH-1 SuperCobra: Between 11,000 and 14,500 lbs, depending on fuel

Helicopters can be very difficult to see, particularly nearing dusk, or if located in the general direction of the setting sun. At night, their anti-collision lights stand out as well as any other aircraft's.

BigDon
2009-Oct-30, 09:37 PM
to quote my old Master Chief

"How the Hell did this happen!?!

flynjack1
2009-Nov-01, 04:18 PM
Our eyes are poorly adapted to dusk and dawn. The transition between the primary use of cones over to rods or vice versa leaves us vulnerable. I had a friend of mine crash into wires during dusk. I dont know how many military helicopters are equipped with TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system) but it should be on all aircraft I have come to appreciate this device. This device could be disabled for combat flying, but would be very helpful during logistics and administrative type missions. Sad day indeed and one that should have been preventable.

mugaliens
2009-Nov-01, 10:30 PM
I haven't been able to determine whether they were in a MOA or not. I did find out one of the Marines aboard the helo was from Colorado.

It's officially no longer a rescue mission. Just a search mission.

FlynJack, to add to your astute comments on dusk, when on collision courses, the other aircraft doesn't appear to be moving. That is, it doesn't sweep your field of vision, but remains in the same spot, which often delays identification and reaction.

Larry Jacks
2009-Nov-02, 01:24 AM
I dont know how many military helicopters are equipped with TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system) but it should be on all aircraft I have come to appreciate this device.

I'm almost 100% certain that the only US military helicopters with TCAS might be the Marine One presidential fleet, if them. I'll try to confirm that with a friend of mine who flies Chinooks but I'd be willing to lay money on it.

In addition to the difficulty of seeing other aircraft at dusk, there's the fact that an AH-1W is very narrow (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cobra_Front_2.jpg) and painted in low visibility colors making it even more difficult to see than most other helicopters, especially from a collision course aspect.

mugaliens
2009-Nov-02, 05:28 AM
In addition to the difficulty of seeing other aircraft at dusk, there's the fact that an AH-1W is very narrow (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cobra_Front_2.jpg) and painted in low visibility colors making it even more difficult to see than most other helicopters, especially from a collision course aspect.

And if the helo was in a MOA conducting a night training exercise, they may have been on NVGs, with the anticollision lights turned off, rendering them even less visible.

flynjack1
2009-Nov-02, 03:28 PM
And if the helo was in a MOA conducting a night training exercise, they may have been on NVGs, with the anticollision lights turned off, rendering them even less visible.

Definitely they would have the Anti-smash lights off if they had goggled up. If it was not yet full dark they would have had visibility issues every time they faced the western horizon. I believe that this area is an alert area, which is essentially a MOA over water. I doubt these aircraft were in communication with each other, though I haven't seen anything on this specifically.

flynjack1
2009-Nov-02, 03:43 PM
Actually it was a Warning Area according to this ;

http://www.navytimes.com/news/2009/11/ap_midair_collision_110209/

Who had control over the airspace at the time of the collision is in question. Often control in these instances is advisory and not always covered by radar, as both of these aircraft were at low altitudes. My experience in these type areas is to tune controlling agency and operational frequencies of units in the area, but that may not have been possible or practical for the units involved.

mugaliens
2009-Nov-02, 08:10 PM
Actually it was a Warning Area according to this ;

http://www.navytimes.com/news/2009/11/ap_midair_collision_110209/

Who had control over the airspace at the time of the collision is in question. Often control in these instances is advisory and not always covered by radar, as both of these aircraft were at low altitudes. My experience in these type areas is to tune controlling agency and operational frequencies of units in the area, but that may not have been possible or practical for the units involved.

Warning area use is published in NOTAMs, and they're controlled by ATC. Most overwater routes scoot between them, but if you're doing anyting nonstandard that takes you through a warning area, it's ok, provided it's not active. If it is active, ATC will not (generally) allow you to transit any portion of the area.

flynjack1
2009-Nov-03, 01:29 AM
I am confident that both aircraft were legally in the airspace, but they were most likely operating by visual flight rules and responsible for their own see and avoid. I forget the name for the contol off the coast there, it alludes me at the moment, but my experience with them is they offer traffic advisories, but do not act as controllers unless you are on IFR handling. This mishap should be a call for TCAS if these aircraft were in fact no equipped. It wasnt available when I was in the service, and the military is slow sometimes to add gadgets deemed unnecessary by those who havent used them. TCAS is very helpful in crowded airspace. My first experience with it was several years ago in LA flying a helicopter at low altitudes over the city. Ones head is always on a swivel in the LA basin, but I was astounded by the amount of traffic that I saw on the TCAS compared to the amount I was accustomed to finding visually.

flynjack1
2009-Nov-04, 02:03 AM
Most recent info

http://www.navytimes.com/news/2009/11/coastguard_crash_110309w/

BigDon
2009-Nov-04, 02:22 PM
Man! That C-130 could have taken out the whole formation! I'm glad it didn't.