January 16th, 2013

Was the Crane’s Warning Light On?
Met Police Helicopter Pilots Told Red Light Off in October


  1. 1
    Incompetence? You don't say! says:

    I’m sure a public inquiry will find no evidence that anyone cocked up their responsibilities and therefore no sackings or resignations will be required.


    • 3
      Anonymous says:

      No heath and safety offices going around the street then?

      Why no one is naming the name of people involved in the accident.


    • 4
      Ah! Monika 2013 +1 says:

      BUT…. Lessons ( you know the rest )


      • 8
        Spartacus says:

        for info – these light cost about 3,000 quid for offshore installations and are switched on when aircraft (helicopters) are about.


      • 12
        The Public Sector says:

        Of course, lessons will be learned, and those held to be responsible following a very expensive public inquiry will be promoted to other duties.


      • 15
        The Public Sector says:

        Of course, lessons will be learned, and those held to be responsible will be promoted to other duties.


    • 40
      T'Old Fella says:

      Was the helicopter a private one (loads a money), was it a commercial or was it even a military one (doubtful, but). I once saw a police helicopter hovering looking for crims. or something, you could see it but you certainly heard it and it had no lights on, when it moved away its lights came on. I thought aircraft had to fly at at certain high over built up areas, build offices and tower blocks higher and the minimum height will have to be raised, otherwise they will be accidents waiting to happen. Keep us posted Guido


      • 58
        Skilldibop says:

        They do, most of the central london area is restricted airspace between 0 and 1400ft. That particular area is also right below the eastern approach for aircraft landing at Heathrow.

        A light wouldn’t have helped much as it was foggy and in broad daylight. If he couldn’t see the tower itself in those conditions there’s no chance he’d see a light on a crane, at 100kts – at least not until it was too late.

        The question has to be asked in instrument flying conditions over a built up area why was he flying low enough to hit a 500ft high structure? According to NATS he wasn’t in contact with ATC at the time but had been earlier? With 12,000 hours it seems unlikely but looks like a bad judgement call. Pilot error.


  2. 2
    a non says:

    Unfortunate accident.
    Unfortunate weather visibility.
    Unfortunate error by the pilot who has paid the price for his miscalculations.


    • 9
      Anonymous says:

      Not pilot error if it transpires the crane’s aircraft warning light was not switched on.


      • 19
        a non says:

        Whether the crane light on or off, it is a singularly high building, well seperated from others that should normally have been given a wide berth. Buildings do not change their position, and are required to have their own red light.
        Tragic accident , at the moment claiming just one innocent pedestrian together with the life of the pilot.


        • 37
          No good jumping to conclusions says:

          Eye Witness reported to Sky that at 7.30am visibility clear and no fog but that became foggy very rapidly around 8am time of crash


      • 29
        I were a pilot says:

        If you hit a crane its pilot error . If you could not see it because of fog then you are below VFR ( Visual Flight Rules) limits …. You cannot rely on a red light , as you need good visibility to see it. If visibility is very low you should not be flying by VFR


        • 46
          Airey Belvoir says:

          Normal VFR rules (1500 feet in built-up areas) do not apply as helicopters must stay below the Heathrow zone as they transit London airspace.


          • KnowYourHeliSafetyZones says:

            The flight would have been under CVFR (Controlled Visual Flight Rules). Air Traffic Control should have been aware of the weather conditions because London City Airport were reporting freezing fog for a few hours prior to the incident and should have told the helicopter to turn around. The aircraft may have been struggling with icing in addition to the fog, limiting its altitude but n any case as the flight would have been supervised by ATC due to the proximity of Heathrow and City airports and as a diversion was requested to Battersea knowing the conditions were bad and well below the allowable limits for VFR, they should have basically made that helicopter a priority above all other air traffic and ensured a safe transit to London Heliport.


          • Skilldibop says:

            Heathrow approach is a lot higher up than 500ft at that point. Closer to 2500.
            From CAA 2005 review of the Class A London CTR
            “It was considered appropriate for NATS to review HAL NTK data to determine the point where aircraft reach 2000 ft on northbound departures from London/Heathrow. Short of changing the helicopter route, or changing levels on the route, there were no options for change. The helicopter transit level of 1200 ft may be a minimum against ground effects and obstacles, but there should not be
            an upper level restriction if there was no London/Heathrow traffic to consider. ”

            He was too low. It also states later in that report that helicopters can operate at 750ft in >2nm visibility. Still 250ft too low even for good visibility.

            Also, if conditions are tricky they’re forcing you to land. Of all the places to go why would you aim for a tiny heliport in the middle of a built up area with tall buildings around? Why head towards a body of cold water where fog is denser?
            Head away from the river where the fog would be thinner, head away from built up areas and aim for a proper airfield which will be a nice wide open space with no buildings near it, a huge brightly lit runway to aim for and do it with ATC guidance.


      • 48
        JabbaTheCat says:

        “Not pilot error if it transpires the crane’s aircraft warning light was not switched on.”

        Was the crane in the middle of the river?


    • 16
      alexsandr says:

      tough shit on the people on the ground who have been killed through no fault of their own :(


    • 20
      Tax is theft says:

      Exactly that – accidents are not usually just one thing going wrong.


  3. 5
    Moussa Koussa Mark 4 says:

    errrrrrr…….Aren’t your lot AGAINST health and safety or as Boris calls it Elf and safety as a joke.

    Perfect example of health and safety not been followed, or becoming lax , if H&S was more heavily enforced accident would have been prevented.

    MORE red tape …NOT less


    • 13
      Anonymous says:

      Exactly … if there were fewer rules, this one would stay but would be less likely to be ignored as just another silly H&S rule.

      Too many rules mean too many ignored and that’s how accidents happen


    • 34
      Maqboul says:

      No need for a HSE investigation then… They need only read Numbnutz mark 4’s post.



      • 42
        T'Old Fella says:

        H & S might be involved but surely this belongs to the Air Accident Safety people, surely the helicopter would have been (or should have been) in touch with Air Traffic Control.


  4. 6
    Alistair Campbell Murderer says:

    “Met police helicopter pilots told red light off”

    Met Police helicopter pilot: “You’re a very naughty red light.”


  5. 7
    Alistair Campbell Murderer says:

    “Met police helicopter pilots told red light off”

    Met Police helicopter pilot: “You’re a very, very naughty red light.”


  6. 10
    Angry 'kipper says:

    I blame the EU.


  7. 11
    Moussa Koussa Mark 4 says:

    Conservative and Ulster Loonetsticks Party MP Nicky Morgan was walking towards Vauxhall when the accident happened. She told BBC News.

    From her expenses Wednesday much be walking day, as she seems to use taxis on all the other days of the week


  8. 14
    alexsandr says:

    in this day and age do we have to rely on shining a light at aircraft to stop them crashing.
    On the railwys they are fitting stuff like TPWs so drivers dont just have to rely on seeing a red light.
    Surely we should have something better for aircraft over populous areas.


    • 51
      DEre says:

      excellent point.

      I’m an RF engineer… 60GHz is an excellent band as it is heavily and consistantly attenuated by the atmosphere. Which means signals get a predefined distance and not a lot further.. ideal for a proximity warning system. 60GHz used to be hideously expensive to get working, but these days it would be ideal.


      • 59
        Skilldibop says:

        We do have something better it’s called IFR and Air Traffic control Radar. It gets 747s to heathrow in low cloud, fog and at night all the time. Without pranging into things.

        If visibility is compromised, you get flight following from ATC who can see where you are, how high and how fast your going and they can direct you safely along pre-defined routes. Those are the rules.


  9. 21
  10. 23
    ITV news says:

    Were any Britains involved in the accident?


  11. 24
    Jizzlam says:

    Obviously it wasn’t terrorism. British muzees are thick as pigshit and probably think a helicopter is a type of flying outhouse.


  12. 35
    Steve Miliband says:

    Mary Creagh MP is already blaming the evil Tories for Tesco’s selling horsemeat burgers, so how long before the chopper accident is somehow the Tories fault


  13. 39
    ERIC PICKLES says:

    FFS Would you like to climb up there to change the bulb ?


  14. 47
    sort it out Guido says:

    This site is becoming unreadable now, such is the time it takes to load all its fucking adverts


  15. 49
    Taxfodder says:

    London, London London….

    I suspect more than 95% of the population don’t give a fig what takes place in the UK’s main cesspit!

    What ever happens there….


  16. 53
    Surrealist says:

    Q: How many crane operators does it take to change a lightbulb?

    A: Helicopter


  17. 54
    Ed Milibandth says:

    Ith it wasn’t for this wicked coalition’s cuts there would be a Wed light on the cwane!


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