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Cooking An Engine - Whats The Punishment


Heli Ops
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Hey Guys,

 

Just wondering if you could provide some feedback. I have a friend who cooked an engine on an EC120 out in the field. It was an honest mistake and now his bosses want to fire him.

 

The question is this. If one of your employees cooked an engine would you fire them, reprimand them, ground them, or what.

 

Thanks for your feedback on this one. Much appreciated.

 

Heli Ops

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I have seen this happen before and I don't know of anyone that was ever fired for it. It is very simple, through distraction or other forms of inattention, to over-temp some engines during start. The pilot certainly does have full responsibility for the result if the engine becomes a pile of slag. However, pilots are human and occasionally make mistakes.

 

Pilots sometimes try to start with the tie-down on. I saw a guy with blades turning and a bright orange winter cover still installed on his aircraft (with nice new holes for the exhaust). We had a guy take off with his engineer standing on the rear cross tube adjusting the RRPM... it was referred to as "flight with engineer attached". How many guys have forgotten the longline was attached?

 

The point is that people are not infallible. If we were, there would be no need for checklists or three tonnes of paper to perform a 100-hour inspection. If a pattern of behaviour develops, (i.e. a pilot or engineer make multiple or repeated mistakes) then it may be that the organization should part company with the individual... we do have a responsibility to our customers and the public to provide them with a high level of safety and professionalism.

 

This should be undertaken on a case by case basis, with a sober examination of ALL the facts (fatique, schedule, form of distraction, systemic problems such as training method, etc). If a pilot or engineer is a good employee and an asset to the company I think it would be beyond ridiculous to terminate them for one incident. The saying, "there are those who have and those who will..." comes into play here... He's already had his, so with due diligence in the future, may there never be another.

 

HV

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How come someone can cook an Arrius with a mistake ? (honest or not).

 

I never heard such a thing.

 

There are a whack of stories on PPRUNE about hot starting EC 120's so I'd hazard a guess it happens... I've never even sat in one myself.

 

HV

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I've personally fired someone for cooking in engine, but there was certainly more to it than that one incident. Basically it was a good guy with a penchant for f#$@ups, and it was put to me by the guys signing the checks that either he goes or the base would be closed down (we weren't that profitable that we could afford too many f@#$ups.......one job or seven jobs??? Needless to say I tried to make it as painless as possible.

 

I doubt someone with an excellent record who gets along with everyone and works hard would be let go for one incident, on the otherhand, if someone was looking for an excuse to rid themselves of a questionable employee...........

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Heli Ops ------- I'm afraid that you'd have to "flesh out that skelton" with a bit more information before I'd venture an opinion. I don't believe there is a set rule for such happenings. There are many contributing factors and some have been mentioned here already.

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Heli-Ops,

 

I guess everyone on here is under the belief that your friend 'cooked' the engine on start-up! Guys come on, there are many ways to over temp an engine. Not familair with the 120 but yes, at start-up, at shut-down, over temping. Lets get more details on this issue before we carry his head away on a stick.

Took a very interesting course this past year. Accident Investigations. It is amazing how we look to hang someone out to dry. This course teaches you to find the root causes of incidents and accidents. My thought process has changed dramatically on these issues, and one needs a clear unbias mind before setting out.

For all we know it was a quick type rating, weak battery, poor recurrent training, aircraft malfucntion, poor maintenace, or other factors. We need the whole storey! As for disciplinary action, the result of the investigation must be reviewed and discussed, then proper actions can be taken. As for firing a person, your company should have a proper human resource procedure in place for this action. The employer is liable for thier actions and may be sued!

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Ok guys will give up as much info as I can without letting on who or where.

 

Person is ex military, spent most of his life on heavier machinery in the Puma catergory. Got a job with government department operating EC120s. Has not done a lot of flying in them. We were out on a job in the bush. Had landed and was starting the engine again when he lost concentration on the start for some reason, the engine overtemped but he still continue with the flight and flew from point A to Point B which was about a ten or fifteen minute flight.

 

After we landed there he decided to check all the system logs and it registered overtemp of 999 degrees. The problem was it was one of the older FADEC systems and it only records a max of 999 degrees so it could have gone anywhere between 999 and 1200 degrees or so. A series of phone calls back to the Chief Engineer resulted in the helo getting put on the back of a truck and carted back to their base.

 

To be honest the one thing that concerned me was that he continued to fly it from A to B even after the overtemp. The reason I say it concerned me is that I was in the back of the thing.

 

Any further opinions on this now.

 

Heli Ops

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