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Air Safety

Publsihed : 1st December 2004

class="Paragraph">> How many of us have our own safety harness?

>I've had my own harness for a very long time, a one based upon climbing experience as it is designed to turn you the right way up and facing back the way you came!

>The harnesses that you are often offered by rental companies are designs that were rejected by the climbing community a long time ago as unsafe, they can effectively suffocate you by pushing your stomach into your lungs.

>Oh and one other thing on the subject of air safety I will never fly in any aircraft with just one engine either.

>Cheers

>Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography
EU Based
www.cinematography.net


>One engine can sometimes be safer than two...it really all depends on the aircraft operator.

>Cheers,

>Mark Eberle
DP


>Visit www.flight-logistics.com and under 'safety', look at the 'How to crash nicely' section…it's very good, and horribly pertinent.

>All the best

>Jim Swanson
Aerial and tracking cameraman
UK - Europe


>Geoff Boyle writes :

class="Paragraph">>Oh and one other thing on the subject of air safety I will never fly in any >aircraft with just one engine either.

>The jury's still out on that one. Twin engine general aviation aircraft do not have a stellar safety record. It is speculated that having two engines may promote an exaggerated sense of security, leading to greater risk taking.

>For many, many years, the aircraft with the best safety record was the Bell 206 Jet Ranger, a single engine helicopter. That included all aircraft types: prop or jet, fixed or rotary wing.

>This may still be the case.

>Geoff Boyle writes :

class="Paragraph">>The harnesses that you are often offered by rental companies are >designs that were rejected by the climbing community a long time ago >as unsafe, they can effectively suffocate you by pushing your stomach >into your lungs

>That's called suspension trauma. This under scores the importance of the right equipment for the job. Don't use an aircraft belt for climbing.

>Aircraft safety belts, sometimes called gunners' belts, are designed to give you freedom of movement within the aircraft while preventing you from falling out the door.

>They should be the minimum length necessary for the task at hand, so that if you do start heading, for the door, you won't go far

>Seat belts are designed to keep you in your seat.

>Brian Heller
IA 600 DP


>Folks,

There is a outfit that sews stunt harnesses and other stuff like that. The name

is something like AMSPEC. They made me a wide padded belt with d rings all around it for tying to pick points. It's closed by a seat belt type buckle. Those can accidentally open which is why the grips always want to put gaffers tape on them. My belt has a cummerbund like cover for the buckle that's held by velcro.


The buckle won't open accidentally, but if I want out, it's easy. I don't remember

>how much it was, but it was cheaper than falling out of a helicopter.

>Marty Mullin
DP LA


>Brian Heller wrote :

class="style7">>For many, many years, the aircraft with the best safety record was the >Bell 206 Jet Ranger, a single engine helicopter. That included all >aircraft types : prop or jet, fixed or rotary wing.

class="style7">>This may still be the case

>It Still is.

>Many General Aviation Twins have such poor single engine performance that all the second engine does is prolong the crash, not prevent it.

>Eric Fletcher SOC
Steadicam/"A" Camera Operator
Single/Multi-Airplane and Helicopter Pilot
Los Angeles, CA USA


>Jim Swanson writes :

class="style7">>Visit www.flight-logistics.com and under 'safety', look at the 'How to >crash nicely' section; it's very good, and horribly pertinent.

>Thanks very much, Jim.

>An outstanding site, these guys obviously know what they're talking about.

>Brian Heller
IA 600 DP


>Most twins perform just fine on a single engine. Of course there are certain exceptions....its the pilot who makes the difference in measuring the advantages of having a second fan out there.

>Mark Eberle
DP-LA


>Marty Mullin writes :

class="style7">>The buckle won't open accidentally, but if I want out, it's easy. I don't >remember how much it was, but it was cheaper than falling out of a >helicopter.

>There is one problem of using a non FAA Approved harness. IF your involved in a crash your insurance claim may be denied because the Restraining device does not hold a STC (Supplemental Type Certification) ALSO a STC'd item must be signed off by an AP (Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic) and a Form 337 must be filed with the FAA.

>How many people realize that when you shoot aerials and use a camera mount that attaches to the airframe that the Weights and Balances has to be recomputed and a 337 has to be filed? If you don't do that and the Aircraft goes down Production becomes responsible.

>Eric "Yes I'm a Pilot" Fletcher SOC
Steadicam/"A" Camera Operator
Los Angeles, CA USA


>Eric,

>Are you referring to non approved mounting systems needing an STC ? As opposed to say a Tyler mount which I would assume is already approved...for certain aircraft? I would imagine the restraining belts provided by the Tyler system are also part of the STC...so the point is adding restraints could actually have negative impact on insurance claims while enhancing personal safety....

>Ya gotta love the FAA.

>Mark Eberle
Dp-la


class="style7">>Most twins perform just fine on a single engine. Of course there are >certain exceptions....its the pilot who makes the difference in measuring >the advantages of having a second fan out there.

>Not true at all. Piston twins have dismal single engine climb gradients on a standard day. Make it a hot day and load the aircraft to just below gross weight and those Single engine climb gradients becomes descent gradients. Like I said that second engine in many cases just prolongs the smoking hole.

>On the other hand Single engine aircraft don’t suffer from Minimum Controllable airspeeds, Spins caused by turning into the dead engine and a false sense of security imposed by the second engine. Most Single Engine pilots stay “Frosty” while flying always on the alert for a problem and always looking for an “Out” should you loss the “Fan”

class="style7">>Are you referring to non approved mounting systems needing an STC ?

>Yes.

>As opposed to say a Tyler mount which I would assume is already >approved.....for certain aircraft?

>The Tyler’s have an STC but need a 337 on file for that bird with a updated Weights and Balance page in the POH (Pilots Operating Handbook)

>I would imagine the restraining belts provided by the Tyler system are >also part of the STC......so the point is adding restraints could actually >have negative impact on insurance claims while enhancing personal >safety....

>Yes

>Eric Fletcher SOC
Steadicam/"A" Camera Operator
Los Angeles, CA USA


>I'd avoid bashing the FAA. There are regulations in place because aircraft must meet higher standards. After all, if a part you put in your car fails, you pull off to the side of the road and wait for the tow truck. Not quite the same result with a plane or helicopter.

>Anything attached to the body of an aircraft must be tested and approved by the FAA. Since safety belts or harnesses are attached to the aircraft they must be approved. The Tyler side mount has a seat belt as I recall. If you feel insecure using only a seat belt, there are likely to be approved harnesses available. Jury-rigging something is bad unless you have done all the proper homework. And if you have, then it's time to get it approved.

>Otherwise, there's unnecessary loss of life. Which is why we are having this discussion.

>If it had been a wind shear that caused the plane to slam into a mountain or the water, we would have been saddened by Neal's loss but things do happen. He died because he wasn't properly prepared, taught, or rigged. And that is tragic because from what little we know it didn't have to happen this way.

>Not all government regulation is bad.

>Robert Goodman
Author/Photographer
Philadelphia, PA


>We seem, as usual, to have gone wonderfully off topic here.

>The crash that started this conversation was a fixed wing aircraft.

>Give me 2 rather than one any day.

>For rotary, yes the Jet Ranger is great but if you need a fast rate of ascent you need a twin.

>Cheers

>Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography
EU Based
www.cinematography.net


>Eric,

>I would agree with what your saying in theory. But there are only a few of these twins out there that wont perform to the books performance specs. As a matter of fact, there are twins out there that out perform their performance specs. The key is to be in the right airplane for the situation and use proper judgment when embarking on each and every flight...specifically...A pilot should know his or her airplane and what it can do and stay proficient so as to have the best chance for a happy ending should something go wrong. I...like you, find absolutely nothing wrong with a good single engine airplane.

>Cheers

>Mark Eberle
DP-LA


>Mark Eberle writes :

>Are you referring to non approved mounting systems needing an STC ?

Non-approved is just that -- non-approved.

If an item has an STC (Standard Type Certificate) then it can be installed in any aircraft type for which the item has been approved. For instance Tyler Middle Mounts are STC'd for all Jet Rangers, Long Rangers, Twin-Stars, A-Stars, etc.

Items with an ATC (Alternate Type Certificate) must have the individual item inspected by the FAA after installation. It can then be removed and re-installed in that particular aircraft without further inspections.

For fuller explanation consult the Federal Aviation Administration Federal Aviation regulations. http://www.faa.gov/regulations/

>As opposed to say a Tyler mount which I would assume is already >approved...for certain aircraft?

Yes, Tyler is STC'd.

>I would imagine the restraining belts provided by the Tyler system are >also part of the STC...

That is correct. Any deviation from the prescribed equipment and installation procedure is not permitted without an inspection. If there is an accident, someone is going to have to come up with a good explanation as to why they allowed the modification.

>so the point is adding restraints could actually have negative impact on >insurance claims while enhancing personal safety...

No, the point is that adding restraints can have the opposite effect. That is, they can make it more difficult for you to get out of the aircraft in an emergency, or for a rescuer to get you out. They may give you some peace of mind, if you ignore the ever present potential for a mishap, but they will not enhance your safety.

Brian Heller
IA 600 DP


>Brian Heller wrote :

class="style7">> Yes, Tyler is STC'd.

>Brian is an expert on this...

>Jeff "sold a Tyler Major Mount to Brian long ago" Kreines


>Geoff Boyle writes:

class="style7">>Oh and one other thing on the subject of air safety I will never fly in any >aircraft with just one engine either.

>I just went up w/ my girlfriend on a 172 and had that thought in mind...

>Continental engines are fairly reliable from what I hear, but then again, when it goes...

>John Babl
Miami


>Eric Fletcher writes :

class="style7">>On the other hand Single engine aircraft don't suffer from Minimum >Controllable airspeeds, Spins caused by turning into the dead engine >and a false sense of security imposed by the second engine.

>There was/is an exception in the realm of light aircraft: The Cessna 337 Skymaster, which was produced between 1960+ and 1980. Many are still flying. Affectionately known as the "mixmaster," it had a twin-boom tail and an engine at each end of the fuselage (fore and aft), which maintained centreline thrust if one engine should quit. For this reason the FAA created a separate license category for 337 pilots, who weren't required to master the arts of manoeuvring a twin with one engine out.

>For some reason the 337 was inordinately noisy for a light twin. But its concept was an excellent one from the point of view of safety. I don't know why it was discontinued.

class="style7">>Most Single Engine pilots stay "Frosty" while flying always on the alert >for a problem and always looking for an "Out" should you loss the "Fan"

>Which reminds me of the phenomenon pilots call "automatic rough." When you fly a single-engine plane over water or mountainous terrain, suddenly you become aware of every tiny (usually imagined) irregularity in the sound of the engine

>Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


>Mark Eberle writes :

class="style7">>A pilot should know his or her airplane and what it can do and stay >proficient

>I always want to know whether any pilot I fly with has read the classic 1920s book STICK AND RUDDER, by Wolfgang Langewiesche. IMHO, it's the definitive book on how to fly an airplane -- without reference to any instruments or gauges, if need be -- and how to maximize your chances of surviving a crash. Reading this book is like learning to walk.

>I read this book as a student pilot many years ago, then got into a Cessna 172 and took it off, flew it and landed it without looking at the instruments. (Yes, I did a proper pre-flight, run-up and so forth) And the flight was the smoothest I'd ever done. I think this book should be required reading for all student pilots, and maybe even for aerial cinematographers who want to understand more about why an aircraft acts and feels the way it does under various conditions.

>IMHO, some basic modern pilot training would be helpful, enlightening and safety-enhancing to every aerial shooter.

>Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


>Hi all,

>Just my ten cents worth.

>When I shoot from a chopper with the local company in my city they now supply a good harness. It is one that you step into and it then comes up over the shoulders and wraps around the torso. It is then simply connected via one d-ring on the harness to another built into the choppers floor using a harness strap with quick-release safety hooks on either end. these can be disengaged with one hand but could never come undone accidentally. I feel so secure I am happy standing on the skids. Even so I still have a quick practice before take off.

>Having been strapped into a chopper cockpit with underwater camera in hand and being flung upside down and submerged with the need to not move for ten seconds and then wait for the trainee pilot to release themselves before I can unbelt myself all the while rolling on the action I realise how long even 10-15 seconds under water, upside down and strapped in can feel like. it seemed like eternity and actually quite frightening.

>I had to do it 3 times in a row. The first pilot refused to do another turn. Also here in NZ when we are on non-scheduled flights (i.e. : special flight just for filming purposes) our life insurance is not valid.

>Regards

>David Paul
Wellington
NZ.


>Brian Heller writes :

class="style7">>For many, many years, the aircraft with the best safety record was the >Bell 206 Jet Ranger, a single engine helicopter.

>That single engine is a turbine, and turbines in general are extremely reliable.

>Also, the JR design is over 40 years old -- plenty of time to work out the bugs. A few early JR’s experienced rotor-freeze-ups (argh!!!), but that was fixed early-on and hasn't recurred.

>Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


>I've VERY Familiar with the Skymaster, My Aunt was the lead Structures engineer on it.

>The noise of the mixmaster is due to the propwash from the front engine interacting with the rears and the tailbooms.

>While centreline thrust is a great idea it too can bite you in the tail in the 336/7. If you loose the rear engine on takeoff your in serious trouble. The Skymaster lacks excess thrust and many early Skymasters made big smoking holes when the rear engine packed it in it on takeoff.

>GA Piston twins do not demonstrate increase in safety. Turbines are a whole different matter.

>Eric Fletcher SOC
Steadicam/"A" Camera Operator
Los Angeles, CA USA


>I am a commercial pilot licence holder and enjoy chatting about aircrafts (and helicopters) very much...but on the CINEMATOGRAPHY mailing list???

>Cheers,

>Daniel Villeneuve , c.s.c.
Directeur-Photo/Director of Photography
Montréal, Canada


>Eric Fletcher writes:

class="style7">>I've VERY Familiar with the Skymaster, My Aunt was the lead Structures >engineer on it.

>Cool!

class="style7">>The noise of the mixmaster is due to the propwash from the front >engine interacting with the rears and the tailbooms.

>Makes sense. Is it as insufferably loud inside the cabin as it is to those on the ground?

class="style7">>If you loose the rear engine on takeoff your in serious trouble.

>I never knew it was so underpowered. Yikes!

class="style7">>GA Piston twins do not demonstrate increase in safety.

>Is that literally so? Or is the difference just minor?

>But enough about useless aircraft. My fave Cessna for aerial work was the 177 Cardinal, which has no wing struts.

>Dan "took a few aerobatic lessons, too (barf)" Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


>As I was recently getting my twin engine endorsement to add to my private pilot's license, my flight instructor explained that the reason why all aircraft are not required to have more than one engine is because, all factors considered, it won't necessarily make them safer.

>Mostly because of the increased proficiency required of the pilot. Obviously, with two engines, you are about twice as likely to have an engine failure, if the pilot doesn't immediately respond correctly, control of the aircraft can rapidly be lost due to the excessive asymmetric thrust (the rudder isn't big enough to stop the yaw, one wing overtakes the other, the aircraft rolls and goes into a dive, probably inverted and in a spin, and all POB have a moment to kiss their collective posteriors goodbye). Obviously, the multi-engine endorsement emphasizes correct handling of all engine failure scenarios and you multi-engine pilot will obviously have one, making it 'safer' as you'd hope! For some reason, when twins do go down it is generally more dangerous than a single engine aircraft. Likely because if they do crash, it is because they somehow lost control and 'fell' from the sky. A single engine plane, upon loss of power, will simply lower its nose and gently glide back to Earth.

>Back to the subject, the reason why regulations are so strict regarding additions to any aircraft is because keeping the weight and balance within limits is absolutely totally critical for the pilot to have adequate control throughout the flight envelope. Even when an extra instrument is added to the control panel, the Basic Empty Weight and Center of Gravity must be adjusted in the flight manual (this is referred to when ever W&B calculations are done for a given flight). The FAA and CAA (here in Australia) are predictably heavy handed regarding this matter.

>You may recall that Aaliyah died with EIGHT other people returning from a shoot. People heard the film crew arguing with the pilot about having to take all of the equipment with them. Evidently, against his better judgment, he gave in and allowed the plane to be loaded beyond its limits. Once in the air beyond ground effect, the arse end of the aircraft was so heavy the elevator didn't have enough authority to push the nose back down, the aircraft climbs and looses airspeed. They don't simply 'sink' when that happens, think "Stall-Spin-Crash-Burn-Die". Oh yeah, I'm sure it didn't help that the pilot wasn't certified to fly the twin engine Cessna 402B and had cocaine in his system.

>*Before an aerial shoot, you can assist the pilot by accurately weighing all of the required gear AND passengers and forwarding the numbers in advance.* The aircraft has charts and graphs and all the moments are considered to determine where the cg will end up on the longitudinal axis. You have the option of being familiar with the capability of the aircraft so you'll know if you may be asking too much.

>Never question the pilot's judgment on safety issues, with everything already on their mind, bad weather, wires, terrain, ATC clearances, fuel, other aircraft, non-standard procedures of the local airspace etc. etc. etc... you don't want to push your luck.

>A friend of mine from Adelaide was expressing his concerns about light aircraft safety, years back he had a 'great' pilot for news shoots from a plane. The pilot would do just like he asked and fly real low and get in close, he was 'really good.' Yet later the same pilot DIED in a crash! With out special training and permission, flying low and in close like that is ILLEGAL for a really frigg'in good reason. DUH!

>A aerial film shoot carries additional risks and pressures, much like an air show...and look at them there statistics. Like the saying, there are Old pilots and Bold pilots, but there ain't any Old Bold pilots.

>Tim Baier ... "better to be down here wishing you were up there, than up there wishing you were down here"

>Freelance Compositor & Private Pilot
Sydney, Australia