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Ntsb Wants Terrain Avoidance In Helicopters

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QUOTE "Until the rules change again we will all just have hope that we can perform our duties without relying on a system that distracts us from what is really important...looking out the window.

Did I mention I am talking about Day VFR operations???"


Ever done any bird towing? Laser profiling? Flown above the treeline in the winter?

Sometimes Mr. Radalt can be our friend. Even with "Eye of Eagle, Reaction of Cat"

The helicopter world is not always black or white.

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Correct me if I am wrong SB, did I ever say that we should not have a rad alt? Or that it would be of no use? Don't think so.


Never done any of the mentioned tasks...just sight seeing tours over my home town... but we never go when the visibility is less than 3 miles



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You guys seem to do different jobs with your helicopters.......


"Terrain avoidance equipment" would be very useful on some jobs, but lead to a false sense of security and possibly bad decision making on other jobs.


We should all remember why the NTSB came up with this idea in the first place....

They were investigating the crash of 3 Astars in one afternoon (Sept 10 1999), all on the same large Alaskan glacier in flat light conditions.


The first helicopter to crash was sight-seeing. I think we would all agree that it was the wrong place to be sight-seeing in flat light conditions.

"Terrain avoidance equipment" should not be used to allow such operations to proceed.


The other two helicopters were searching for the first helicopter when they crashed.

Yes, a radar altimeter would have informed these pilots of their height above the glacier. At that stage they would have made a decision (hopefully) to depart the area......a decision that should have already been made !!


The key to VFR flight is remaining VISUAL.

Don't wait for a radar altimeter to tell you that you've lost reference, or expect it to save your butt if you went too far.

(Towing a bird etc. etc. are still VFR jobs, so only use the radar altimeter as appropriate).


The key to IFR is INSTRUMENTS.

Use all of them.


The key to all flight is to not mix IFR and VFR together.

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My "key" to flying is a tad different, but not much..............Use your farking head for something else other than a place to put your hat or your helmet...........otherwise all the instruments in the world ain't going to save your sorry ***. It's called "Decision Height" on approach and what or who makes that decision to land or add power and climb-out and also makes a decison for a possible retry..........an instrument? Ditto for when the seagulls are walking and can't fly and some idiot decides "he'll have a look". The only "intrument" that he understands is a hammer "upside his head".......and he can use his own "terrain avoidance" to try dodging the **** hammer.

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I fly with an EGPWS. IFR, Night/Day VFR. It is a useful tool if you get caught 'scud running'. It can give you a heads up on obstructions to look out for and makes finding lower terrain/valleys (ways out) very easy on the fly, generally improving situational awareness. Having said that, If you were to hope that it would save your bacon during a loss of reference on a VFR flight, I think you are in for a rude awakening. I can see the potential for it to save the day during a really messed up IFR flight that is about to have a CFIT accident (and I do not know anybody that has had that pleasure), but if that thing goes off while you are low and slow VFR, you have already lost it, and are probably about to meet the ground, in my humble opinion.

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