16th October

Absence of map data may have contributed to fatal helicopter crash

A warning system that increases pilot ‘situational awareness’ did not include Black Rock and its lighthouse or the terrain of the island in its database, according to the preliminary report of the Air Accident Investigation Unit into the crash of Irish Coast Guard helicopter R116 (March 15) that claimed the lives of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, co-pilot Capt Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciaran Smith.

Coast Guard R116

ILV Granuaile supports the ROV and divers during search operations of R116 at Blackrock island 

A digital map that allows the pilot to view a representation of terrain and obstacles ahead is included in the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS), ‘provided these are contained in the database’.

Read more: Absence of map data may have contributed to fatal helicopter crash

Absence of map data may have contributed to fatal helicopter crash

Photo: Black Rock island and lighthouse. Tiles on the roof of the outhouse exhibit damage 'consistent with being struck by falling debris'

A warning system that increases pilot ‘situational awareness’ did not include Black Rock and its lighthouse or the terrain of the island in its database, according to the preliminary report of the Air Accident Investigation Unit into the crash of Irish Coast Guard helicopter R116 that claimed the lives of Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, co-pilot Capt Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciarán Smith.

 A digital map that allows the pilot to view a representation of terrain and obstacles ahead is included in the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS), ‘provided these are contained in the database’.

 EGPWS manufacturer, Honeywell, informed the Investigation that compliant processes include the ‘integration and validation’ of multiple public and private data sources, furnished by customers, governments and private industry.

 It added however: ‘Honeywell’s selected terrain and obstacle source data do not include Black Rock.’

 And while the island is present in alternate data sets, ‘the actual altitude of Black Rock is considerably higher than what is indicated in these alternate data sets.’

They confirmed the obstacle data for ‘the Ireland region’ is sourced from their ‘Type 1 LOA supplier’. This data ‘does not include obstacles on Black Rock’ Honeywell told the Investigation.

 The EGPWS also includes basic modes that prevent descent into level or evenly sloping terrain. Enhanced or ‘look ahead’ modes are based on Global Positioning System (GPS) position compared to terrain and obstacle databases.

 ‘Look ahead’ modes are intended to prevent the aircraft from running into ‘sharply rising terrain or man-made obstacles’, the report notes.

FULL REPORT: Inshore Ireland (Summer edition)

Blackrock Island

Black Rock island and lighthouse. Tiles on the roof of the outhouse exhibit damage 'consistent with being struck by falling debris'

State agencies depart crash site at Black Rock Lighthouse

The Air Accident Investigation Unit and An Garda Síochána, in conjunction with the Irish Coast Guard, have expressed their 'sincere appreciation' to the Commissioners of Irish Lights and the Marine Institute, supported by Geological Survey Ireland, for the extensive search conducted around Black Rock Lighthouse following the loss of Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 on March 14.

Blackrock Island

The search operation by the Marine Institute's Holland 1 ROV concluded this afternoon when the CIL's vessel Granuaile departed Blacksod Bay. Supt. Tony Healy confirmed that the Garda water unit would conduct diving searches in the vicinity of Blackrock Lighthouse as soon as wind and tidal conditions are favbourable. 

Read more: State agencies depart crash site at Black Rock Lighthouse

Fishermen join forces to search for R116 crewmen

 

 

KFO IFPO

The Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation and the Irish Fish Producers Organsations are continuing to search for the missing crew of Irish Coast Guard helicopter R116, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith, by organisating a coordinated search of Donegal Bay this weekend (April 8-9).

Read more: Fishermen join forces to search for R116 crewmen

Wreckage of Coast Guard R116 'positively located'

Following initial Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) operations, wreckage of Coast Guard helicoper R116 has been positively located on the seabed, east of Blackrock at a depth of approximately 40m.

Blackrock MB data

INFOMAR multibeam data of waters surveyed around Blackrock Island, Co Mayo

Read more: Wreckage of Coast Guard R116 'positively located'

Wreckage from Coast Guard helicopter 'consistent' with hard surface impact

Investigators from the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) have confirmed that wreckage from Coast Guard helicopter R116 shows impact ‘consistent with the tail of the aircraft contacting rocky surfaces’.

Blackrock Island

Blackrock Island, 13km off the Mayo coast

It is believed the Sikorsky S-92 stuck rocks on the western end of Blackrock Island, 13km off the Mayo coast. The exact nature of the damage and the circumstances of the accident remain unknown.

Capt Dara Fitzpatrick’s body was recovered shortly after the incident late on Monday March 13. Her colleagues, pilot Mark Duffy and winchmen Ciarán Smith and Paul Ormsby are still missing.

Read more: Wreckage from Coast Guard helicopter 'consistent' with hard surface impact

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