News Chopper Crash Final report released

The final Report for the mid air collision between KTVK Channel 3 and KNXV Channel 15 news has been released. It can be found here. Both Pilots are listed as being at fault. Which is what I expected.

The report is very detailed but tends to repeat itself.

Here are the summary findings:
"1. The pilots of the channel 3 and 15 helicopters were properly certificated and qualified in accordance with applicable Federal regulations.
2. Both helicopters were properly certified, equipped, and maintained in accordance with Federal regulations.
3. The recovered components showed no evidence of any preimpact structural, engine, or system failures.
4. Weather was not a factor in this accident, and sun glare would not have interfered with the pilots ability to detect and track other helicopters over the pursuit scene.
5. The channel 15 pilots color vision deficiency was not a factor in this accident.
6. The channel 3 and 15 helicopters collided because one or both pilots lost awareness of the other helicopters position.
7. The lack of available information regarding the helicopters movements and positions precluded investigators from determining precisely the events that transpired before and at the time of the collision.
8. The channel 3 and 15 pilots reporting and visual tracking duties immediately before the collision likely precluded them from recognizing the proximity of their helicopters at that time.
9. This accident demonstrates the limitations of the see-and-avoid concept for reliably ensuring separation of aircraft during high-density traffic operations, especially when the pilot is conducting other nonflying duties as part of the operation.
10. A high-visibility paint scheme on the helicopters? main rotor blades or high-visibility anticollision lights could have facilitated the detection of the impending collision risk.
11. A traffic advisory system would enhance an electronic news gathering (ENG) pilot's capability to detect other aircraft operating in the same area by providing aural annunciations and visual displays of the traffic, and a system designed specifically for helicopters could help eliminate the nuisance warnings that ENG pilots can receive when other aircraft are operating near the systems alerting envelope.
12. Annual meetings with local electronic news gathering (ENG) helicopter and local Federal Aviation Administration personnel would help improve the safety of ENG operations by facilitating a proactive exchange of information among the participants.
13. Best practice guidelines would provide electronic news gathering pilots with practical knowledge to apply during these operations.
14. Recorder systems that captured cockpit audio, images, and parametric data would have significantly aided investigators in determining the circumstances that led to this accident."

And Probable Cause:
"The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was both pilots ‟failure to see and avoid the other helicopter. Contributing to this failure was the pilots‟ responsibility to perform reporting and visual tracking duties to support their station's electronic news gathering (ENG) operation. Contributing to the accident was the lack of formal procedures for Phoenix-area ENG pilots to follow regarding the conduct of these operations."

Near the end of the document is transcriptions from the cockpit voice recorders starting at page 47.

A re-creation of the crash can be seen in the 2 videos below (not official).


9 Months of Incidents

This is a map of incidents for a Tempe Fire station for a 9 month period. There were more than 1600 calls, that comes to about 7 calls per day.
More that 90% are aid calls. They shouldn't call it the "Fire Department" it should be called the "Aid Department".


Public Service Announcement

You don't tug on Superman's cape.
You don't spit into the wind.
You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger, and
Thank you.


3.5 Alarm Structure Fire 16th St. and Bethany Home Rd.

Yes that's right a 3.5 alarm fire.

I do not know what time this call came in as I was in my office at the time. I left after 14:00. I was on my way home and heard that there was a second alarm fire at the location above. I hightailed it there and after circumventing the local goons, I found a spot on the south east corner in which to take pictures.At this time (around 14:30) the fire was confined to the restaurant at the location. It was blazing hot outside. My car said it was 112 degrees. It seems that the PFD was fighting the fire internal to the building from behind a firewall.
The were in offensive mode.
The Ladder 9 Bronto was up as well as an unmarked ladder with a telesquirt, plus another unmarked ladder.
None of them were putting water on the fire and didn't the whole time I was there. At one point Engine 17 got a good dousing with water or foam.
After about 15 minutes I moved to a better location across the street.Thankfully the goons didn't bother me. Around this time is when I learned that it was restaurant that had just been remodeled. All of this and 115 degree temps. I took a few more pictures and had to leave as I was still on the clock. On my way home I heard the call for a third alarm, and on my way to my appointment later I heard a call for additional units (hence the .5 in 3.5 alarms).

Oh and hear are a couple more pics of a humat valve (woo hoo!).
The fire was out sometime after 16:30. Per other sources the fire was found by people working on the air conditioning.


Transformer Fire 20th st and Yale

About 16:15 or so I heard a report from possibly Engine 5 that they had heard an explosion somewhere near 20th st and McDowell. I grabbed my camera and headed there immediately. I did not hear the call, when I got there Engine 5 was there as well as Haz Mat 4, a rescue, and South Deputy. The police showed up shortly after I did but, not seeing anyone worth harassing they left. Channel 3 got there before me, a white unmarked van with a dish on top showed up and left, and the Fox 10 helicopter hovered about (slow news day). I left around 16:40.

Since it was about 102 in the shade and nothing much was happening I left.


Dryer Fire to House Fire

At aprox 11:15 I hear a call for a dryer fire near 51st street and Virginia. Engine 13 was called and arrived on scene rather quickly as their station is only about 3 blocks from where the fire was. They arrived on scene and immediately upgraded the call to a 3 in 1 house fire. Additional apparatus were called including Scottsdale Engine 601, Scottsdale Engine 603, Ladder 11, Rescue 11 (Rescue 13 had been dispatched on another call), LT 12, Squad 29, Battalion 2, Battalion 5, an unmarked in bad need of a paint job utility truck, and CR 41.

The fire had spread to the attic and the family of 4 evacuated. Battalion 5 was 51st st. command and from what I heard on the scanner it sounded like Ladder 11 was in some kind of trouble (for what I am not sure). The crews had fire control and par by about 11:40, I left about 11:45 and passed CR41 inbound.


Apartment Fire 2902 E. Fillmore

Alarm time aprox. 10:50. Ladder 11, Rescue 11, Engine 29, Squad 29 (heavy rescue), Battalion 2, and south deputy. Utility 29 was called but did not acknowledge till 11:10 (and was canceled) so Utility 10 was called around 10:59 and responded on scene at aprox 11:10. Also a CR van was called and an investigator.

The fire was on the second floor of an apartment complex. I had just turned on the scanner when I heard the call. I scrambled to get my shoes on, grabbed my camera and Garmin Nuvi 760 GPS. This is the second time I was able to use it to get to a fire and it saves me a lot of time.

I arrived on scene just behind south deputy at about 10:56. The fire was knocked down by then. I took a few pics and waited around till I heard they had fire control and all clear. 5 people were displaced. Police showed up at 11:05 and gave me a dirty look as I walked by them to leave. All clear was called at 11:10. Channel 3 news was on scene as well.

Nother Humat Valve!


3 in 1 House Fire 61st ave and Highland

New tactic. Since The PFD is so efficient and leaves me with practically nothing to post I will start posting all fires I go to regardless of lack of action.

So here is an attic fire in an apparently empty house. This afternoon I got there at 10 minutes elapsed time and it was all clear.


humat valve... isn't it cute?


2009 Fire Season Starts

It looks like the 2009 fire season is well on it's way. After a long dry spell this winter I have been to 3 fires in the last week. However all 3 were out before I could get there, so no pics. Maybe next time.