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BIG

No.357 MARCH 2018 AU $13.95 NZ $14.50


BIRD
New hope or false dawn for the A380?
Print Post Approved 100007959
MARCH 2018

Contents
‘The need for good
experienced pilots cannot be
met locally.’
NEVILLE HOWELL p26

20 Big commitments
A new hope or a false dawn for the
Airbus A380?

26 No train no gain
Pilot training in the spotlight as
government re-opens the door to
foreign pilots.

54 From the frontiers


Space tech is not just for rocket
scientists.

58 Ready for launch


Unmanned systems finally taking off
in ADF service.
A refurbished ex US Army Black
Hawk is fast proving to be a 66 Going for Gold
game changer in the world of Gold Coast Airport gears up for the
aerial firefighting p32 Commonwealth Games and beyond.

72 The need for speed


The US’s Future Vertical Lift
program could result in Australia’s
A rusty pilot flies next battlefield helicopter.
Diamond’s DA62, a 82 Flying the doctors
little gem p48 A team of skilled pilots is critical
to the success of the Royal Flying
Doctor Service.

86 From 789 to 10
Boeing’s 787-10 and the 787 at 10.

92 Looking for answers


Eye in the Sky GA black box born out
of personal heartbreak.

4 Locked On 105 Fire & Ag


10 Notam 106 Cabin Pressure
Our incredible front cover 12 Debrief 107 Right Hand Seat
image shows the wake
vortices created by an
18 Good kit 108 Contrails
Emirates A380 as it appears 96 Racer’s Edge 109 On Target
through a cloud bank on
approach to Brisbane Airport. RAAF Hawk training 98 Traffic 110 The Human Factor
michael marston is being enhanced 102 Warbirds 111 Flight Levels
BIG by aircraft
upgrades and new
104 Airports 112 Yesteryear
No.357 MARCH 2018 AU $13.95 NZ $14.50
BIRD
New hope or false dawn for the A380?
simulators p40 104 From the Regions 113 Asia Watch
Print Post Approved 100007959
105 Rotor Torque 114 Pinstripe

MARCH 2018 3
FINDING ANSWERS

FINDING
ANSWERS Eye in the Sky GA black box
born out of heartbreak

WRITER: DENISE MCNABB

I
t comes as no surprise to Louisa even if it was born out of personal E ye in the Sky view of the aircraft on shutdown. If a pilot has a
‘Choppy’ Patterson that preliminary heartbreak. helicopter cockpit. over the top – warmer start than anticipated it would
investigations have been unable to If it hadn’t been for the death of the helicopter company be good to be able to have a picture of
fathom why a De Havilland Beaver her 18 year-old son, James Patterson it,” she says.
floatplane was off course and crashed Gardener and 42 year-old Wanaka “The actual benefits are enhancing
into the Hawkesbury River north of pilot, Stephen Combe when a aviation and raising the safety bar as
Sydney, killing all six on board on New Robinson R44 helicopter broke up in a whole.
Year’s Eve. the Lochy River Basin, northwest of “Once you have a breakup of a
It’s yet another tragic aviation Queenstown in February 2015, Eye in helicopter our device will be able to
accident that vindicates a decision by the Sky might have been a pipe dream. prove the reason why. That’s why we
the chief executive of Queenstown- “It’s a little bit like putting the put the benefit of the identifying cause
based luxury helicopter tour operator, ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, of accidents and reoccurrence at the
Over the Top, to invest tens of but since we’ve developed it to give bottom of the list of benefits.
thousands of dollars in a “black box” answers on this particular aircraft “If a pilot is aware he has a flight
audio and video flight data recorder there is a lot more positive things that data recorder in his aircraft it may
for general aviation aircraft. have come out of it,” Patterson says. mean that he flies slightly higher or
Called Eye in the Sky, it will be She has been involved in flight adheres to the rules slightly more. It’s
launched in the first half of this training for many years and believes a consideration he has to make if he
year, initially in Australia and the light aircraft and helicopters will is going to fly low or possibly break a
United States at a cost of around benefit greatly from the recording rule.”
$NZ4,400 (A$4,053) per unit, system as it not only finds causes of After her son’s accident New
though Patterson says there will be an air accidents in small aircraft, but it is Zealand’s 80 Robinson R44s were
introductory offer. also a valuable tool for aviation safety grounded because a portion of the
She dearly wishes the device, that and education. blade was found a distance from the
is little bigger than her hand, wasn’t “It can tell engineers, for instance, aircraft. The ban was lifted a few days
a necessary evil but she is pragmatic about the noise they can hear in an later after blade disintegration was

92 AUSTRALIAN AVIATION
deemed a consequence, not a cause of resulted in this catastrophic failure. the University of Sydney to study
the accident. “The bottom line is that aircraft engineering two days after that fateful
The New Zealand Transport do not break up in flight and this flight.
Accident Investigation Commission helicopter broke up in flight and they The phrase is also the motto of
(TAIC) concluded the crash was due to continue to do so,” says Patterson, the James PG Foundation Patterson
mast bumping – where the inner part citing 147 Robinson R44 aircraft created in her son’s memory.
of the blade bumps the mast, be it as accidents since her son’s death with Profits from the sale of the Eye in
a result of turbulence, stalling or for around 23 having unexplained the Sky will go to the foundation to
another reason. breakups. enable youth with the potential to
There was no conclusive proof this She says Robinson was positive excel in their chosen field to attend
was the cause and Patterson is not about Eye in the Sky and was talking University of Sydney as James had
convinced. about developing its own version or intended.
“We are yet to establish that cause joining forces with her company. The foundation was launched
in our own mind and we are having “They are encouraging their use recently with income from other areas
some second tests done on the blade,” but I am not sure about their theory as of the business.
she says. they feel the accident was pilot input. Patterson says it will open doors
“As an aviator of some 45 years We will find out unfortunately.” to young people of all levels who are
I believed that if an aircraft has a
problem and a pilot puts in a control
‘Our device Foundation
trying to reach their full potential,
whether it be working in the aviation
that will make it catastrophic and the
aircraft won’t return to normal flight
will be able On her wrist Patterson wears a blue
band inscribed in white in Ancient
industry or where someone requires
endorsement or sponsorship in a
mode then it shouldn’t be certified to
fly.
to prove the Greek, which translated to English
says, “ever to excel”.
particular company.
“Through our contacts we will
“The implications are [from the
crash] that a control input was put
reason why.’ It is a daily and poignant reminder
of her son who was due to take up
assist youth whether it be financial,
philanthropic, or beneficial.”
into the aircraft, which could have LOUISA PATTERSON residence at St Andrew’s College at

MARCH 2018 93
worth a thousand words, but a video is
priceless.”
Patterson and Collier will be back
at the heli-expo in Las Vegas in March,
followed by the Australian Helicopter
Industry Association’s Rotortech expo
on the Sunshine Coast in May.
“Potentially the first market is
helicopters, then planes, Patterson says.
“But there is potential for all sorts
of things from engineering to training
incidents and complaints.”

Legally speaking
Over the Top uses America’s Rugged
Video unit in its helicopters to
showcase customers inside and
outside the helicopter and at the end
of the trip they are given the footage
on a USB stick.
Patterson says Eye in the Sky is
not designed for that sort of output.
Secured high in the cockpit behind
the front two people it films in high
definition video the control panel
Development Louisa ‘Choppy’ Patterson whether you are in a taxi or a lift or and the control inputs so it can’t take
The TAIC report into the R44 accident with her Eye in the Sky flight anywhere really.” footage of outside those parameters
suggested it would be a good idea data recorder. over the top – the “We’re taking this way beyond the that might threaten breaches of
for cameras to be installed in small helicopter company traditional idea of a black box.” privacy.
aircraft. The device was originally black, “You won’t even necessarily get a
By the time that report came out but following feedback from countries view out the front of the helicopter,”
Patterson was well into developing such as Papua New Guinea about Collier says.
Eye in the Sky. regulatory colours for aviation it was Because the STC designates
“Quite soon after James and Steve’s changed recently to orange. the unit as a flight data recorder it
death it became obvious that if we would be available to air accident
had had an apparatus in the aircraft it Heli-Expo investigators, but like the large black
would have answered all the questions, Patterson and Collier introduced box, not to the courts as evidence in a
in particular being able to look at the Eye in the Sky to the industry at the prosecution.
controls where the pilots’ inputs are,” helicopter industry’s largest event, the “That in itself encourages people
she says. Hai Heli-Expo in Dallas last year. to install it because it is there for
“We began working with the “We went there to gauge interest safety not for prosecution purposes,”
authorities on how we were going to
make this work.”
One chap and promote the product and got a lot
of positive feedback that has helped
Patterson says.
But she says if there were a
The first consideration was getting
a supplementary type certificate (STC)
with 80 shape the final version that we have
today,” Patterson says.
situation where a company was
thought to be breaking some rules it
to allow the device to be fitted in
aircraft.
aircraft “One chap with 80 aircraft on the
east coast of America wanted them for
wouldn’t stop Civil Aviation looking
at the footage with the onus on the
Over the Top’s pilot and product
developer, Brad Collier, says the STC
wanted them his entire fleet. He told us a picture is operator to provide it, not the pilot.

process is expensive and technical.


“We’ve employed a lot of help to
for his entire
assist us getting this civil aviation (NZ
CAA) authorisation.”
fleet.
It is now getting authorisation in LOUISA PATTERSON
other countries.
Black boxes (actually aviation safety
orange), housed in the tail of large
aircraft record cockpit instruments
and conversations between the pilot
and co-pilot but they do not have
cameras.
Patterson describes Eye in the
Sky as a small, technically-advanced
version of the large black box in that it The aviation orange Eye in
has both audio and video components. the Sky flight data recorder
“In the past few years cameras have positioned in the helicopter
become more prominent in one’s life cockpit. denise mcnabb

94 AUSTRALIAN AVIATION
FINDING ANSWERS

Technicalities
Patterson has worked with New
Zealand, American and Chinese
companies and has visited China
and the US in her journey to get
the final product to assembly stage.
She declined to reveal who they are
because it was propriety information,
except to say they were in the high
definition video field, had expertise
for the required submersible
detection and metallurgic experts
helped with the case.
The battery runs off the
helicopter’s power when it is turned
on and goes off when the helicopter
engine is turned off.
In the event of electrical failure
the battery will run for a certain
period before it stops recording over
an SD card in the unit. Depending on
the size of the SD card it will run for
up to 60 hours.
“Eye in the Sky records ambient
audio as it has its own microphone
so it will pick up any noise from the
engine. It is also plumbed in directly
to the pilot’s aviation audio panel so
anything the pilot hears and says,
whether it be from the cockpit or
the radio call, is also captured on a
separate channel,” Collier says.
If, for example, there was an
incident involving air traffic control
it would pick up something a pilot
might be saying to another pilot and
what air traffic control might be
saying to that aircraft.
“This obviously has benefits in
post-incident analysis,” Patterson
says.
The casing is made of high grade
metal to a level where data could still To market T he Eye in the Sky flight data her tourism clients that because her
be taken off a card if the unit was Collier says while flight data recorders recorder in an Over the Top –The company has Eye in the Sky in its
involved in a fire. have been around for a long time they Helicopter Company helicopter helicopters they should mandate that
Patterson and Collier met with are expensive and bulky and it’s taken at Queenstown Airport. denise they be fitted to other aircraft they
representatives of a company recently a while for some of those ideas to filter mcnabb supply tourists to as well.
that says it can make a casing for the down to light aircraft. The final prototype came back
unit that will withstand very high He also suspects some people flying from the US recently after testing
temperatures. It will be incorporated helicopters and recreational aircraft revealed anomalies with two audio
into a later batch and provide an might not have liked the idea of being channels, but with these sorted the
option to have the fireproof casing go accountable for flying low on occasions green light is fast approaching.
around the present casing. when they shouldn’t have been. “If it takes off I think the
As part of the STC process “I think we are the only one doing it foundation would benefit immensely
the unit must also pass an audio cost-effectively,” Patterson says. and a lot of young people in New
interference analysis check, an “We will have them to market Zealand and Australia will reap the
electrical load analysis check within the first half of this year but benefit,” Patterson says.
and electronic engine control we’ll take orders earlier than that. We “I feel personally that if we sold
approval. are just waiting on some paperwork one unit and it was in the right
All of the mounts are load from various testing people.” aircraft then I would have done my
certified and tested. The mounting She won’t make a forecast on bit for aviation and particularly, in
and wiring for the aircraft comes potential sales. honour of my son.”
with the package and each unit is “It depends on where they go, Patterson says the foundation
part and serial numbered. It also what they put them in and what the is pretty much her long-term
comes with an SD card and a special authorities say.” project.
tool to remove the unit’s cover, Wearing a tourism hat she says
making it tamper-proof. can also say to the major suppliers of More details at: www.eyeinthesky.co.nz

MARCH 2018 95