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Thread: Era Astar crash NTSB prelim report

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    And, once again . . . . . no ELT signal was observed. Sorry ending to a long helicopter flight.

    I presume the report that the chopper was flying west out of Bethel headed for Iliamna is just a bit inaccurate?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly 2 View Post
    And, once again . . . . . no ELT signal was observed.
    Unimportany detail. The story explained that the ERA dispatchers used satellite flight following and knew something was wrong well before any ELT response could have been initiated. Satellite flight following that's monitored is as good as any survivor can hope for. Sadly this accident wasn't survived.

    From today's newspaper. As worthless a news story as has ever been written. http://www.adn.com/2011/11/05/215614...re-alaska.html

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    I'm still curious about the ELT and if there was one onboard. Even with the satellite flight following, an aircraft operating under 135 should have had an ELT. Mr. Pid, do you know of any waivers for 135 ops with no ELTs? I'm not aware of any, but wondering if they're out there.

    I guess what I'm really wondering is if there was a 406 ELT onboard, but it didn't go off, since the prelim report says no signal detected. If that's what ended up happening, that's the third accident I've heard of where the 406 didn't go off and there may be more.

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    The report did not say there wasn't an ELT on board, just that they haven't found one. I'm not aware of any alternate means for the ELT requirement. I do know that some operators rely more heavily on satellite tracking than ELTs and therefore haven't adopted 406 beacons. Given the weather conditions and the pilot qualifications I'd think the NTSB wasn't too focused on the ELT thing. I'd think they're looking for equipment failure or pilot incapacitation. The ELT wasn't a factor in the accident in any case. And a potential lack of one didn't delay or impair the accident response. Satellite tracking is an impressive tool. Sometimes accidents just aren't survived. Satellite tracking and ELTs can't change that.

    My sympathy to Mr. Zeman's survivors and friends.

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    Quote Originally Posted by northbird1 View Post
    II guess what I'm really wondering is if there was a 406 ELT onboard, but it didn't go off, since the prelim report says no signal detected. If that's what ended up happening, that's the third accident I've heard of where the 406 didn't go off and there may be more.
    There was a 406 onboard. I was destroyed in the post crash fire, it was attached to the wreckage and heavily charred. The crew that found Bill did report they heard a very faint tone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    My sympathy to Mr. Zeman's survivors and friends.
    Ditto that.
    Zeman was the best chopper pilot I ever hired. I spent countless hours in the cockpit with that guy and counted him as a real friend. I had a couple of beers with him the last time i was in Juneau. He was retiring this year, or so he told me.
    Bill flew for us an numerous jobs all over the state. I never saw him push the weather. Never saw him "rushed".

    I really can't say enough about him. Except God bless him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bullbuster View Post
    Ditto that.
    Zeman was the best chopper pilot I ever hired. I spent countless hours in the cockpit with that guy and counted him as a real friend. I had a couple of beers with him the last time i was in Juneau. He was retiring this year, or so he told me.
    Bill flew for us an numerous jobs all over the state. I never saw him push the weather. Never saw him "rushed".

    I really can't say enough about him. Except God bless him.
    Was Bill related to the Zeman logging family? They were a well-known name in Southeast back during the logging days.

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    I never heard him mention any logging history in his family. Interesting question. I will find out.
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    "About 11 minutes before the accident, at 1953, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) was reporting, in part: Wind, 280 degrees (true) at 6 knots; visibility, 5 statute miles with light snow; clouds and sky condition, 3,100 feet overcast; temperature,"

    Getting dark, light snow and an overcast on snow-covered ground. It is extremely easy to lose track of the ground when in conditions that no discernible ground references are visible.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
    "About 11 minutes before the accident, at 1953, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) was reporting, in part: Wind, 280 degrees (true) at 6 knots; visibility, 5 statute miles with light snow; clouds and sky condition, 3,100 feet overcast; temperature,"

    Getting dark, light snow and an overcast on snow-covered ground. It is extremely easy to lose track of the ground when in conditions that no discernible ground references are visible.
    Doesn't sound as though it was weather related. A VERY experienced pilot, and VFR weather? Seems more likely to have been mechanical problems, fuel exhaustion, or pilot incapacitation, doesn't it?

    In any event, very sorry about the accident. Condolences to the pilot's family.

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    the end of civil twilight was 1917.
    Accident was at 20:09. Sounds like it was good and dark.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    Accident was at 20:09. Sounds like it was good and dark.
    You're right, Doug, but darkness doesn't make it IFR. I've flown a lot of dark hours around Iliamna, and in both snow and rain. It seems that he still should have had a visual on Newhalen or the waterfront lodges, if both his position and the reported weather were correct. It's pretty flat country along there and, unless he was flying back in the hills, it seems that contact flying should have been all right. Of course, both the reported visibility and ceiling may be wrong, I realize . . . . . Perhaps we'll soon know.

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