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Avoiding / Preventing Whiteout

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For those used to fly in the pure white mountains with the famous flat light.

Has anyone any experience using color boxes designed only to put a colored layer on the snow for reference?


Someone said they use this in certain areas, both for Heliskiing and SAR when landing in areas with risk of whiteout.


Any experience and ideas appreciated for this application.

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All from the last 12 months.



Date: 2010-12-30

Further Action Required: Yes

O.P.I.: Commercial & Business Aviation

Narrative: A10P0395: During landing at a refueling site, the Mustang Helicopters Bell 205A 1 (C-GFRE), pilot lost visual reference in blowing snow and the main rotor blades struck a refueling tank. The helicopter was substantially damaged, but the pilot was not injured. No fire started from the collision.



Date: 2011-02-09

Further Action Required: Yes

O.P.I.: Commercial & Business Aviation

Narrative: UPDATE / Add info from TSB: A11P0025: The Eurocopter AS 350 B2 helicopter, C-GBGT, operated by Slave Lake Helicopters was one of two helicopters conducting heliskiing operations for a ski lodge about 160 nm NW of Smithers, BC. A group of skiers had been dropped off and the helicopter was proceeding down, on the other side of the mountain ridge (due to localized and variable weather conditions) to the pick-up point. While en route, the helicopter encountered marginal VMC and attempted to descend through a break in the cloud. The helicopter contacted snow covered terrain and began rolling down the slope. The pilot, the only person on board, released his seat belt and was ejected as the helicopter continued to roll. The pilot was not injured. The helicopter received substantial damage. The on-board ELT (406) activated and was turned off by the pilot. There was no fire. The ski lodge utilized a GPS tracking system to monitor the heli-ski operations and was aware of an incident immediately. Rescue was accomplished within 40 minutes.



Date: 2011-01-12

Further Action Required: No

O.P.I.: Commercial & Business Aviation

Narrative: Alpine Helicopters Bell 206 L 1 (N171KA), VFR origin unknown to destination unknown had a main rotor blade strike upon landing. The aircraft's main rotor contacted a 1" metal pole at a pad near Trout Lake which is located NE of Nakusp, BC.



Narrative: UPDATE / Add Info from TSB: A10P0073 - The Skyline Helicopters Bell 212 helicopter (C-GSLZ) reportedly encountered white-out conditions while engaged in heliskiing operations and attempting to land in mountainous terrain to drop off skiers. The pilot sustained minor injuries. The ten passengers were not injured.



Narrative: UPDATE / Add Info from TSB: A10P0004 - The Alpine Helicopters Bell 206L-1 helicopter (C-FALC) was engaged in heli-skiing operations in the Bobbie Burns area. While approaching a landing area at Roller Coaster Run, the helicopter was suddenly engulfed in whiteout, the main rotor blades contacted the ground, and the helicopter was substantially damaged. The pilot and one passenger sustained minor injuries, one passenger was uninjured. There was no fire. (Occurrence upgraded to an accident)

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