Crashing Australian Army Blackhawk
June 18, 2007 8:57 PM   Subscribe

On 29 November last year an Australian Army Blackhawk helicopter crashed while attempting a landing in strong winds on the HMAS Kanimbla. Two soldiers died in the accident, with the airframe and the corpse of one Trooper later being recovered from the seabed 3 km down. The Board of Inquiry opened today, releasing graphic video footage.
posted by wilful (35 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"severe wind conditions" !
An understatement, I would say.
That chopper bounced off the deck so fast it look like a video game.
posted by davebarnes at 9:12 PM on June 18, 2007

That's really not that graphic.
posted by puke & cry at 9:16 PM on June 18, 2007

That's really not that graphic.

Quite graphic, haven't seen too many helicopters bounce of flight decks in my life. But I don't live on a film set.
posted by mattoxic at 9:32 PM on June 18, 2007

Holy fuck. That looks crazy as hell. I'm having trouble parsing it all, but what the hell was the pilot doing coming in that fast? In the segment before the impact shot, if that's the same copter on approach, he looks like he's fucking hauling ass. He looks tilted back though, like he's trying to slow down, but the wind has him. He looks like he's just approaching way too fast, and after pitching back, he failed to increase either collective or thrust or something. Maybe he got into a vortex ring state, due to the wind and his speedy approach.
posted by BeerFilter at 9:34 PM on June 18, 2007

posted by taosbat at 9:40 PM on June 18, 2007

Second the Holy/What the fuck.

Usually in high wind conditions the biggest issue is the pitching of the deck, which means the chopper pilot has to judge when to set down, and set down HARD when s/he does finally decide to (so the helicopter doesn't re-launch when the deck pitches down).

However, in this case the chopper also had massive horizontal speed, which I really can't understand unless it was some sort of 'tactical' approach, or as BeerFilter says some sort of failure mode. I can't see vortex ring being an issue with the forward speed and distance off the water, but helicopters have so many ways to go wrong, who can tell...
posted by pivotal at 9:52 PM on June 18, 2007

Were they trying to show the footage in the shortest video possible?
posted by smackfu at 9:54 PM on June 18, 2007

I hate to sound like a dispassionate hardarse, and I'm sure my opinion would be different if it was my son/brother/father lying there at the bottom of the ocean, but I really have to question the use of public money to undertake the 'salvage' operation, for no useful purpose. Just feelgood meeja manipulation, I think.
posted by wilful at 9:54 PM on June 18, 2007

From bunglin jones' link:
"The team view was that there was a number of contributing factors that led to the crash," he said.
"That being the ... geometry of approach in those environmental conditions, and to a certain degree the configuration of the aircraft by weight."

I love military euphemisms. "Geometry of approach" == pilot was coming in way to fast and hard onto a pitching deck.
posted by pivotal at 9:56 PM on June 18, 2007

I found this "Low flight" .
posted by hortense at 10:03 PM on June 18, 2007

That's really not that graphic.

Hate Love to be a pedant, because graphic is *exactly* what it is.

Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin graphicus, from Greek graphikos, from graphein
1 a : of or relating to the pictorial arts; also : PICTORIAL b : of, relating to, or involving such reproductive methods as those of engraving, etching, lithography, photography, serigraphy, and woodcut c : of or relating to the art of printing d : relating or according to graphics
2 : formed by writing, drawing, or engraving
3 usually graphic a : marked by clear lifelike or vividly realistic description b : vividly or plainly shown or described (a graphic sex scene)
4 usually graphical : of, relating to, or represented by a graph
5 : of or relating to the written or printed word or the symbols or devices used in writing or printing to represent sound or convey meaning

The adjective is slowly being leached of its proper meaning by dolts like you, who use or interpret examples like "a graphic sex scene" to mean something other than a realistic, written or pictorial depiction of sex. Instead, graphic is though to mean something like "extreme" or "over the top".


Funny this. It probably happens in America & its many military bases & expeditions overseas every other hour. Here, it's big news, like yesterday's *breaking news* - interrupting all the morning telly - "Shots have been fired in Melbourne! One person is critically injured! Two more have been taken to hospital!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:31 PM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

I reckon it opened yesterday.

wilful, i'm sure, was translating for our american friends. becoz of the international dateline and all, our "yesterday" is their "today". hope this clears everything up.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:38 PM on June 18, 2007

Somehow, "ROFLCOPTER" doesn't seem appropriate here.

I reckon it opened yesterday.

wilful, i'm sure, was translating for our american friends

Reminds me of the quote (paraphrasing): "If you're worried that the world will end today, just remember it's always tomorrow in Australia."
posted by amyms at 11:26 PM on June 18, 2007

Yes, I looked up the meaning of "graphic" and realized that it was in fact graphic, by definition. I was just hoping no one would call me on it, especially someone that says "telly" and "taken to hospital".
posted by puke & cry at 11:32 PM on June 18, 2007

I was reading over a few news articles about it today, and this footage was released to the media before the survivors and the deceased's families were permitted to view it (SMH).

The first that one of the survivors heard of the crash was seeing the footage on the news yesterday night. I think somebody has stuffed up there - this footage should have been released to those involved well before it was made public.
posted by cholly at 11:34 PM on June 18, 2007

What are you talking about, p&c?

Both are perfectly cromulent usages of Strine. Despite the ever-worsening encroachment of foreign culture on our fair shores, I still resist the use of Americanisms like "hospitalizated".
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:00 AM on June 19, 2007

cholly, my understanding is that once it was shown at the inquest into the crash, it was released to the media. It sounds to me as though no one was allowed to view it until the inquest began.
posted by bunglin jones at 12:31 AM on June 19, 2007

I really have to question the use of public money to undertake the 'salvage' operation

You might as well ask why the ship was there and the helicopter was landing on it. It's all very expensive ongoing training with people and equipment you are paying for whether they are being used or not. And recovering the helicopter is a very good way to figure out why the thing crashed, just in case it's something you can fix for the rest of your helicopters and their crews. That, and you'd have a hell of a time keeping morale up (and people in the service) if you didn't do things like go back for ‘Ports’ when there were teams of people (who are being paid whether they are sitting on deck or diving for the bottom) telling you they are ready to go.
posted by pracowity at 1:00 AM on June 19, 2007

Figure out why it crashed? Dude, did you look at the video? I didn't see (or hear any reports) of equipment failure.
posted by wilful at 1:14 AM on June 19, 2007

In all the reports from when this happened it was said that the sea was calm and the conditions where good. I've only heard of wind being an issue in the last few days.
posted by markr at 1:15 AM on June 19, 2007

I didn't see (or hear any reports) of equipment failure.

With the pilot dead there could have been control problems that we don't yet know about. Even if they recover the helicopter (Have they done this? Or just the body trapped in it?) these things can be difficult to determine.

For example the US lost five Blackhawks through the '80s, including all on board, due to an EMC issue that gave uncommanded stabilizer movement when flying past strong radio transmitters. Basically the stabs would move and the helicopter would nose into the ground (see page 38 of this pdf or just Google for it).

EMC problems are notoriously hard to diagnose, and ships are full of strong transmitters. I understand the Blackhawk has had additional shielding added since then, but the Seahawk, which the Australian Navy use is basically a Blackhawk with better EMC hardening.
posted by markr at 1:26 AM on June 19, 2007

I didn't see (or hear any reports) of equipment failure.
There's one here now.
posted by bunglin jones at 2:11 AM on June 19, 2007

...Though that thing I linked to seems to be talking about equipment that ought to have worked in the event of a crash, not equipment that ought to have prevented one
posted by bunglin jones at 2:13 AM on June 19, 2007

UbuRoivas, perhaps dinkum would be better than
cromulent in this situation.

I for one like diminutive "telly". It has a nice warm ring to it.
posted by mattoxic at 3:27 AM on June 19, 2007

mattoxic: fair suck of the sack, mate! i'm trying to make the septic tanks feel welcome here.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:16 AM on June 19, 2007

"Holy crap, did you see that freaking chopper explode?"
posted by Eideteker at 4:34 AM on June 19, 2007

Now you're mixing Cockney in?
posted by Liosliath at 6:35 AM on June 19, 2007

For those that can't get the video on the newsite to play, here's a bit from skynews with the footage, along with some underwater footage of chopper on the ocean floor.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:37 AM on June 19, 2007

UbuRoivas: "It probably happens in America & its many military bases & expeditions overseas every other hour."

Somewhat true. As an army brat, I've lived near military bases most of my life. We surely only heard of the local helicopter crashes even if all the men on board died. Once or twice a year seemed to be the normal rate. Military training is dangerous. Military training with helicopters always seemed a bit more so.
posted by False Jesii Inc. at 9:06 AM on June 19, 2007

The account by the survivor was chilling. The man, an experienced diver, did everything right and it was still an incredibly dicey situation. That nine out of eleven men involved survived that, after seeing the crash, is amazing.
posted by misha at 9:57 AM on June 19, 2007

I don't know if its the fixed postion of the camera or what, but the crash footage has a surreal, almost CG feel about it.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:34 AM on June 19, 2007

Ooo, well then. I learn something new here every day, thanks.

Last time I got called that was in a very shady area of London in '91, and wasn't sure what the hell he was talking about until a few years later.
posted by Liosliath at 5:41 PM on June 19, 2007

What stupid fuck precedes the video of a fatal crash with video of baboons eating paper?
posted by Whistlepig at 11:11 PM on June 19, 2007

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