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Small plane / big sky – why the plane collided in flight and how to prevent it

2019-04-11 Travel No comment

I have been a commercial helicopter pilot for 35 years. During my career, I traveled nearly 1.5 million miles on the ground, transporting as many as 100,000 passengers as possible, and completing 12,500 hours of flight time in my log. The most important number? I ended up with the same number of takeoffs and landings.

In addition to joking, considering the public's perception of the helicopter business, this seems to be a surprising exit. Most people really believe that helicopters are dangerous devices that can carry out a variety of unpredictable, mostly annoying behaviors. The truth is, as I often tell passengers, the dangerous part of my job is driving to work.

But the helicopter industry is in real danger, in part because of the way helicopters operate and the risk of air collisions. Most helicopter operations are unmodified areas that are reflected from the FAA, namely unsupervised heliports, crude oil landing sites in rural areas, and remote areas that are often not radio or radar supervised. The general rules require pilots to only see and avoid each other. It looks very simple. Even so, some air crashes and near misses occur every year. Of course, pilots monitor radio frequencies and should always be aware of the existence of other air traffic. However, since there are no external monitoring facilities, such as FAA control towers or other ATC facilities, this situation is standard in the helicopter business, so pilots can avoid other aircraft.

It goes without saying that the collision between the two aircraft almost always leads to death. When one of the machines is a helicopter, it is always the case. Although fixed-wing aircraft are far away, they are likely to recover from mid-air and may be safe to reach the ground. The helicopter did not. As long as the main rotor system of the helicopter is interrupted, the aircraft will collapse. carry out. Therefore, in many respects, helicopter pilots are constantly aware of accidents in other aircraft, especially in the recent mid-air of New York, where the fixed wing may be operated by a private, possibly lower-time pilot. . In addition, although the survey has just begun in New York, design factors may have worked. Compared to fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters typically have higher visibility than the cockpit. Aircraft cockpits typically have a more limited field of view, especially for low-wing aircraft, where the wing itself acts as a blind spot for traffic below.

So how to prevent air collisions? If there is little or no external monitoring, there is no onboard technical prevention mechanism, how to separate the aircraft in flight? Here are some suggestions for students or any other pilot who wishes to retire, because I have not had such an ugly accident in their records. I do have several close-up calls: a close collision in Vietnam at dusk; another cloudless, sunny afternoon in Dubuque, Iowa; another reasonable close call With an impressive large offshore marine bird, I can take out my windshield and I didn't avoid him.

Some of the aviation industry, mostly young or inexperienced pilots, agree with the theory that "airplanes avoid aerial flight in the air." Simply put, those pilots believe that in such a huge area and in the sky, and in showing such meager targets, their chances of coming into contact with another aircraft are almost negligible. Although the coach always asks the student [and all other] pilots to keep the head spinning, some pilots focus on the cockpit for a long time, only occasionally. Therefore, the first rule is occasionally seen outside the plane. A good rule of thumb is, oh, like, every ten seconds – well, five seconds.

Another way to avoid other traffic is to monitor the radio. Listen to the chattering voice, pay attention to who takes off, or who is landing, and where to take off. Known as situational awareness, it is our best friend when flying, or looking for a car in a crowded parking lot.

Know where you are. This may sound simple, but if you know that your plane is within a quarter of a mile at any time and there are other traffic reports in the same box, you need to look for it. And don't think they will see you. One of the important killers in the aviation industry is complacency. It is full of more pilots than exhausted gasoline. A classic accident a few years ago involved the commercial 727 landing in San Diego and collided with Cessna 172 in September 1978. Pilots of large aircraft reported that they saw the plane. But the aircraft they reported was the third aircraft. They have never seen the people they have met, and 137 people have died.

Another phenomenon that can cause midairs is called the closure rate. In free air, the perception of speed is difficult to distinguish from the cockpit. Closing another aircraft, an inexperienced pilot may misinterpret the speed at which two people approach and actually fly to another machine. It happened, especially when a pilot thought he had enough time to react and found other things.

As for the small sky theory, like the San Diego crash described above, most of the air collisions occurred on a sunny day within five miles of the airport. In the case of New York City, the helicopter has just risen from the heliport on the Hudson River and is on the rise. At this point it's guessing, but it seems that even the pilot saw another, so there is no time to escape. The two cockpits may be more vigilant before the accident, especially considering the crowded corridors along the river.

Aviation accidents are not inevitable. They are the result of human supervision, complacency, lack of attention, and disregard of restrictions. As one of my teachers once said, “We have not invented any new methods of collapse.” Midairs can safely consider the extent of the real congestion in the airspace – and always stay more – well-trained Perceive habits and take advantage of any resources inside and outside the cockpit, such as radar reports, location reports in the broadcast, and teaching passengers to look out.

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