The Scotsman

Pilots had ‘no shared men­tal model’ of last part of doomed flight

- By LUCINDA CAMERON news­deskts@scots­ Incidents · Elgin · Inverness · Macao · Bishop Auckland · Winchester

The pi­lot and co-pi­lot of a he­li­copter that ditched into the sea with the loss of four lives did not have a shared un­der­stand­ing of how they would fly the ap­proach to an air­port, a fatal ac­ci­dent inquiry has heard.

A i r A c c i d e n t s I n v e s t i g a - tions Branch (AAIB) in­spec­tor Alison Camp­bell said there a p p e a r e d t o b e “n o s h a r e d men­tal model” bet ween the t wo men about how the last part of the flight was to be con­ducted. Two crew and 12 pas­sen­gers on the Su­per Puma L2 sur vived when it ditched on its ap­proach to Sum­burgh Air­por t, Shet­land, at 6:17pm on 23 Au­gust 2013.

But Sarah Darn­ley, 45, from El­gin, Mo­ray, Gar y Mc­crossan, 59, from In­ver­ness, Dun­can Munro, 46, from Bishop Auck­land, Count y Durham, and Ge­orge Al­li­son, 57, from Winch­ester, Hamp­shire, all died in the in­ci­dent.

Cross-ex­am­in­ing Ms Camp­bell yes­ter­day, Jonathan Lake

Q C, rep­re­sent­ing he­li­copter op er­a­tor CHC, asked where t h e r e wa s a l a c k o f s h a r e d un­der­stand­ing.

She replied: “I think there was a lack of un­der­stand­ing about how the ap­proach was to be flown, what was to hap­pen should they reach min­ima, who was to do what i n terms of look­ing out or look­ing in and what the plan was for land­ing or go around.”

Ms Camp­bell said there was “n o s h a r e d me n t a l mo d e l” about par ts of the ap­proach and what was go­ing to hap - pen when they reached 300ft.

The in­spec­tor said the pi­lot was “very ex­pe­ri­enced” and it was rea­son­able to con­clude he had a plan in his head for how he was go­ing to carry out the ap­proach, but sug­gested the co-pi­lot might not have known what it was.

Sher­iff Prin­ci­pal Derek Pyle, who is hear­ing the in­quir y, asked: “First of all the pi­lot has worked out what he is go­ing to do and sec­ond what he ex­pects the co -pi­lot to do dur­ing the flight?” Ms Camp­bell replied:

“I think that’s fair. When crew work re­ally well to­gether they share that ex­pec­ta­tion with each other. They both know wha t t h e y a r e ex p e c t i n g o f each other and I think that’s what was miss­ing in this case and they didn’t share those ex­pec­ta­tions.”

Sur vivor Sa­muel Bull took h i s o w n l i f e i n L o n d o n i n 2017, which Mr P yle said was “di­rectly caused” by the crash.

The inquiry, which is tak­ing place vir­tu­ally due to coron­avirus mea­sures, also heard from Adrian Osb orne, who was emer­gency safety equip­ment of­fi­cer at CHC un­til he re­tired in April.

He said both the pi­lot and copi­lot were up to date with their train­ing, in­clud­ing tri-an­nual un­der wa­ter es­cape train­ing, which in­volved es­cap­ing from a sim­u­lated ditch­ing on wa­ter as well as an emer­gency es­cap e from a he­li­copter un­der­wa­ter. The inquiry was also shown a sim­u­la­tion of the fi­nal nine min­utes of the flight.

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