Tuesday, November 03, 2009

DHRUV CRASH UPDATE #6: New Inquiry Team Ordered, CVR/FDR To Be Shipped To Bangalore

The Ecuadorian government has decided to formally constitute a new investigation board into the October 23 Dhruv crash. The new board will officially include the three-member expert team from HAL that landed in the country on October 31 -- up until now, they were providing outside consultancy and analysis to the first Board that was comprised only of Ecuadorian personnel. In the next one week, one or two Board members from the Ecuadorian side and one of the Board members from HAL will bring the Dhruv's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder to Bangalore, where the data will be downloaded and analysed jointly. HAL has already made preparations to receive and analyse the data at Bangalore. An officer from the IAF's Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) will also be roped in for the analysis.

Incidentally, according to the latest update I recieved today from my sources in Ecuador today, the HAL team had an opportunity to visit the crash site yesterday (November 1) and were also taken to inspect the crashed Dhruv. Apart from this, video footage and still photographs of the crash and the Dhruv were shared with the team.

The prima facie overview conducted by the HAL team over the last two days, incidentally, has virtually confirmed the Cyclic Saturation theory that I reported here two days ago. The three Dhruv were flying at 60-metres in a line-astern formation directly above the runway on October 27 during the military day parade. It had planned that the three-Dhruv formation would break to the left, with a three-second gap between them, after passing the parade to starboard. FAE-604, the ill-fated chopper, was in the middle position. After the lead helicopter had executed its turn, FAE-604 began its turn after the agreed gap of three seconds. During the turn, according to my sources, the middle Dhruv entered the wake of the lead helicopter, thereby effectively forcing it out of the turn. When the pilot of FAE-604 attempted to get his Dhruv back into position, he appears to have exerted excessive bank to left, rolling in at a very high rate. This is precisely what, in all likelihood, caused the right cyclic saturation. And the 60-metre flying height gave the pilots no time to recover.

10 comments :

Anonymous said...

shiv! This cyclic saturation theory how does it help HAL? it will only confirm the limitations of the craft...or is it a common phenomenon in all the rotary wing a/c? how does these mi-17 ,bell helos and our own chetak would have reacted under such conditions?

Anonymous said...

Recently a TH-57 Bell Jet helicopter has also crashed in USA. Hope Ecuador bears in mind that it happens to established brands too.

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous!! 60-meter flying height?! WHY?!! Why did the Ecuadorian AF subject it's brand new acquisition to such needless high-risk flying? Even India has a separate unit 'The Sarangs' to fly aerobatic manouvers with the ALH, so why did the EcAF allow an operational unit to perform such stunts.

Anonymous said...

Let's say the final report does pinpoint "Cyclic Saturation" as the cause. Will the report compare how ALH handles "Cyclic Saturation" compared to other comparable aircraft?

Would other comparable aircraft like AW139, Bell 412,Bell 429, EC 145, Kazan Ansat, MD Explorer, S-76 [source Wiki] handle better in similar conditions? If the parameters that caused the crash are out of range for the above aircraft, then, I feel that's the ultimate proof.

Anonymous said...

Its great that we have so many people here who are perfect. Most comments start with, 'Stupid HAL', 'Stupid Pilots'. It must be frustrating to be such geniuses having to live in this imperfect world.

Anonymous said...

there are reports in the pakistani media that ecuador may send back the helicopters .

how true is the report ???????

gerard said...

No one is talking about this either...

US Army Black Hawk helicopter crashes during exercise
A US Army Sikorsky UH/MH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter crashed on 22 October during an exercise with the US Navy (USN) off the coast of Virginia. The helicopter crashed into the US Naval Support Ship (USNS) Arctic while fast-roping navy SEALs onto the stern flight deck

Anonymous said...

Not very important but anyways... the pilot who crashed is standing at the extreme right in pic 2. of pictures along with Shiv's report "How the Dhruvs were transported to Ecuador". Read his name tag.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon at 1157
the cyclic limit is a part of the helicopter...its not a limitation of the Dhruv...
the Mil, Sikorskys, Bells all will have it
Flying is a heli is much more complicated than an fixed wing
and therefore all the more easier to screw up!!

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

there are reports in the pakistani media that ecuador may send back the helicopters .

how true is the report ??????? "

Not true, What the Pakistani media actually said was that all three Pakistani branches of the military, army, navy and air force want to order the Dhurv for their own use. The Pakistanis think that Dhruv is the best helicopter ever made and it will work very well in their military and they are eager to purchase 1,000 Dhruvs as an initial order with options for 10,000 more!