THE BigO PLAIN-SPEAKING, STRAIGHT-TALKING, NO B.S. CONTEST No. 2

October 22, 2010 – 8:20 pm


The nation-builder press, October 19, 2010.

The following report ran on October 19, 2010 with the headline: Helicopter Crash Landing: Corroded Valves To Blame.

A defective component in the engines of the Apache AH-64 helicopter was what ultimately brought the aircraft down last month.

At the heart of the problem was a part known as the Anti-Ice Start Bleed Valve (AISBV). The valves in the two engines of the ill-fated Republic of $ingapore Air Force (R$AF) chopper were found to have been corroded.

Deputy Prime Minister Admiral Teo Chee Hean outlined the mechanical fault in Parliament October 18 while responding to questions about the investigation into the crash landing.

Three weeks ago, the Apache made an emergency landing in an open field between Woodlands Avenue 12 and Woodlands Drive 64. Its tail broke off when it hit the ground. No one was injured.

DPM Admiral Teo, who is also Defence Minister, explained that the corrosion to the valves had caused both engines to shut down mid-flight.

“A corroded valve would lead to malfunctioning of the guide vanes that channel air to the aircraft engine. The disruption of airflow to the engine would lead to the loss of engine power,’ he said, in a response loaded with technical details.

The valves serve two functions in the aircraft: to prevent ice formation and to maintain air pressure at low engine speeds.

In the wake of the accident, the Ministry of Defence had grounded the R$AF’s fleet of Apache helicopters pending investigations. Flights of Seahawk helicopters, which use similar engines, were also suspended.

On October 18, Admiral Teo said that flights would resume progressively from this week, once the valves in affected helicopters are checked.

“To ensure that our helicopters are fitted only with valves that operate properly, the R$AF will replace all existing valves with new ones, or valves that are re-certified by the manufacturer, and test the engines thoroughly before we clear each helicopter for flying.”

The engine problems are the first such fault reported in Apache helicopters, even though the same valves are in Apaches around the world.

Said Admiral Teo: “We were very surprised by this incident because the Apache is a very robust aircraft and in fact, we have not had an accident with it over 28,000 flying hours over eight years. So this case was a very unique case.”

He ruled out manufacturing defects and maintenance lapses as possible causes of the fault.

Apaches are made by American aerospace giant Boeing.

“We have no evidence that there were manufacturing defects in these valves. We have also ascertained that the R$AF maintenance crews adhered to the required maintenance procedures specified by the manufacturer for the aircraft, including the AISBV,” he said.

The procedures mandated by the manufacturer do not include inspections of the valves. “The maintenance procedure does not call for the R$AF to open up the AISBV. This can be done only by the manufacturer,” he noted.

The valve is to be replaced only if a fault code appears on the aircraft’s computer during flight, or when the engines are being run on the ground for tests.

In the case of the helicopter that crashed, the malfunction was not detected by the computer.

Admiral Teo said Mindef is working with the manufacturer to figure out why the part corroded and what steps to take to ensure a similar accident does not recur.

He said: “It could mean, for example, replacing the valve more frequently or sending the valve for tear-downs and re-certification more frequently.

“These are currently not in the maintenance procedures and we’ll certainly do so.”

  1. 156 Responses to “THE BigO PLAIN-SPEAKING, STRAIGHT-TALKING, NO B.S. CONTEST No. 2”

  2. How could it not be manufacturing defect, or maintenance lapse? The only other choice is normal wear-and-tear due to age, and there’s nothing interesting about that.

    By Barlmorrel on Oct 22, 2010

  3. If there is no regular maintenance needed, per manufacturer, on noted valves than it has to be a manufacturing defect since there were no other incidents with the remaining fleet of Apache’s.

    By John Morretino on Oct 22, 2010

  4. From the photo it looks like its all brass and stainless with nylon bushings..don’t usually corrode. Pilot error perhaps.

    By not an expert on Oct 22, 2010

  5. Obviously is difficult to give a comment for all of us, not expert, but it seems a defect in the maintenance procedures. It is probably time to change this aspect.

    By rudy on Oct 22, 2010

  6. If there is normal wear and tear to a component , then regular cheks for wear would be common procedure. If that is not the case, the part is expected to last the life of the product (helicopter) and failure to do so would mean the part is defective. If the computer is programed to pick up any need for inspection and replacement , then the program is defective. If this is the first sign of this problem, maybe there are environmental conditions at play such as extreme humidity.

    By Jay Bartlett on Oct 22, 2010

  7. some poor bastard will get the blame……….

    By TerryP on Oct 22, 2010

  8. It’s very fortunate that no one was injured. This could have been a real disaster if it happened over an area crowded with people.

    By RKL on Oct 22, 2010

  9. The problem was described in one sentence:
    “Apaches are made by American aerospace giant Boeing.”
    My car has a computer sensor that will tell me when I need to change the oil. Does that mean I shouldn’t check the oil from time to time anyway?
    If manufacturing defects or maintenance lapses (as the story says) are not to blame, that leaves PILOT error (or perhaps some birds hell-bent on taking down the $ingaporean government sabotaged the valves).

    By Christo on Oct 22, 2010

  10. it’s just a maintenence issue

    By Liam NSW on Oct 23, 2010

  11. If the problem is a corroded anti-ice startbleed valve (AISBV), then I would say it is a manufacturing defect of this valve that needs to be replaced by periodic maintenance.
    Is it worth the lives of our troops who fly these ships to replace this part from time to time to asure them that this aircraft will perform at it’s maxium level all the time.

    By Vincent Kellogg on Oct 23, 2010

  12. Much easier to buy brand new stuff, than to maintain.

    By Pierluigi on Oct 23, 2010

  13. No fault code? Sounds like a computer malfunction, too.

    By Taxman on Oct 23, 2010

  14. If the valves can’t be inspected except by the manufacturer, then the RSAF can’t be blamed. But should Boeing have done some routine inspection? These fly in much worse conditions and this must have been seen before.

    By Graham on Oct 23, 2010

  15. hi it is proberly a combination of all of the above if not blame the last guy who tightened the last nut

    By bobcat on Oct 23, 2010

  16. Sealed part that can be serviced only by the manufacturer (and infrequently at that) + some kind of unanticipated failure mode = emergency landing. As stated above, it’s fortunate this happened in circumstances where it was possible to land without injuries aboard or on the ground.

    By drkrick on Oct 23, 2010

  17. Sounds like you’re getting sold the seconds. Haven’t heard of similar problems with ours here in America.

    Arms merchandising is complicated business.

    By NoamSane on Oct 23, 2010

  18. Sounds like a maintenance issue although, like others, I must caution that I’m no expert. I do know, though, that keeping aircraft of any kind flightworthy involves detailed inspections from top to bottom on a regular basis. It just doesn’t sound right to say that “we never inspect this part”; any part of any machine can fail, and it simply prudent to inspect everything at some point or other.

    By MrBill on Oct 23, 2010

  19. Faulty valves now, but how are they certifying that the replacements won’t have the same or similar, issues?

    By Brian on Oct 23, 2010

  20. Maybe it was made on a Monday morning or Friday late afternoon!!!!

    By bluefood on Oct 23, 2010

  21. Next time this happens, it will be blamed on another part, and that one will be changed in the whole fleet. Easier to order new parts from the manufacturers rather than hold them accountable.

    By digit42 on Oct 23, 2010

  22. Counterfeit parts possibly?

    By Peter on Oct 23, 2010

  23. I believe that people are generally good, and that most people want to perform well in their careers. I hope that everyone involved, from the manufacturers to the technicians and their supervisors, will benefit from the scrutiny that followed the accident. I hope accountability can be improved and the use of this equipment and the aircraft will be safe.

    By David on Oct 23, 2010

  24. slow ass news day…period

    By metaljohn on Oct 23, 2010

  25. Hey, maybe if all weapons and fighter aircraft and nuclear submarines stopped working suddenly, we’d be that little bit closer to world peace?

    By Johnnycomelately on Oct 23, 2010

  26. I guess this must be hostile territory for $ingapore to need Apache attack helicopters. I suppose that helicopters are better suited for the area as jet fighters would constantly be overflying the republik.

    By Deak on Oct 23, 2010

  27. i dont think there was anything wrong with any valve at all. i think its a complete hoax created to dissuade attention from something else and give people an answer so they are placated and can rest with something that sounds feasible. most people are easily fooled and would believe a story like this since theres no reason to disbelieve it. it satisfies the masses and pushes the responsibility of what really probably was the cause onto someone else. maybe there was something wrong with this valve but could that really have been solely responsible for bringing this entire machine down and leaving the people on board no chance to survive? couldnt there have been compensation in another way to make up for the issues that this faulty valve if it really did exist that is.. caused? im thinking that the truth isnt being told here and a coverup is being sold to the public. not a huge conspiracy mind u but there is surely more going on than what is being let out. thats my two cents.

    By darthcdrx on Oct 23, 2010

  28. A part or two can be replaced, but when it turns out more and more are failing; then buy completely new.

    By Dennis on Oct 23, 2010

  29. Two separate valves, both corroded, shut down two engines at the same time? Either this is an impossible coincidence or there is something I am missing in the technical details. Also, what about the maintenance record for the computer? Potential computer issues are: 1.) a manufacturer’s defect in the computer that the problem was not identified or, 2.) there was improper maintenance of the computer itself.

    By Dave on Oct 23, 2010

  30. It’s more likely that the helicopter’s engines got clogged with an escapee flock from the Jurong Bird Park!

    By Ralph on Oct 23, 2010

  31. huh?

    By yeahyeahnoh on Oct 23, 2010

  32. Pilot error, he must have had a few drinks before take off, or the helicoptor is manufactured on a Monday.

    By Scott on Oct 23, 2010

  33. I would only trust a Boeing as far as I could throw it. Any statement they make is likely of the CYA variety.

    By Jeremy Shatan on Oct 23, 2010

  34. blame the maintenance guy as always

    By paul davies on Oct 23, 2010

  35. Stay off the ground if you don’t want one of these choppers to land on you!

    By David Galeana on Oct 23, 2010

  36. Yet another communication breakdown, but thankfully, no loss of life

    By David on Oct 23, 2010

  37. Someone will take the fall….

    By seriouscoyote on Oct 23, 2010

  38. Sounds like a typical bureaucracy with blame being passed around.

    By Phil on Oct 23, 2010

  39. Some cocky valve design engineer thought that he had made such a perfect piece of equipment that there would never be a reason to inspect it!?!

    Sorry Mr. Cocky Engineer, you’re not God, you can’t make perfect.

    Put the thing in the inspection rotation.

    By Dick Cole on Oct 23, 2010

  40. Isn’t there a simple checklist for stuff like this? I’d like to think so every time I get on a plane.

    By BadVlad on Oct 23, 2010

  41. It’ll be interesting to see if any of the same valves found in Apaches around the world experience the same problems!

    By Daij on Oct 23, 2010

  42. Let’s see. Coroded valves I’m asuming wea’r not talkig trombones here. Tailes falling off that sounds more like a lack of fiber issue to
    me.

    The importence of these valves to be maintaned properly would seem to be critical. Allowing them to coroed sugest’s a lack of maintence.

    By Curt Vig on Oct 23, 2010

  43. If there was corrosion, then the valves need to be checked more often as part of maintenance. Having said that, I have not heard of that problem from other countries that use the Apache.

    By Mackster on Oct 24, 2010

  44. Given that it is so rare for this to occur, there are only a handful of explanations for the crash (defective part or system, pilot error, maintenance negligence or error, or sabotage). I can’t think of a reason why an expensive, single crash like this would be allowed to occur on purpose. I’m inclined to think it’s probably just an unfortunate accident, and that it will lead to greater safety procedures to prevent it from happening again…

    By psykomyko on Oct 24, 2010

  45. I’m also surprised that two valves would shut down two engines simultaneously. Especially in light of the superior safety/stability record of this aircraft. But given the military status of this incident, I don’t expect any third-party independent panel to be called in to investigate the real cause of the crash. As no one was injured (thank the gods), the public will accept whatever li(n)e is fed to them and the incident will be closed.

    By Golgo Hakase on Oct 24, 2010

  46. Naturally all parts are inter-dependent, and the cost of size of a component does not necessarily equate with its importance

    By Rob T on Oct 24, 2010

  47. I’m just glad the incident ended with a landing and not a crash.

    By soldout in San Francisco on Oct 24, 2010

  48. The problem with a non user-servicable part is just that - it either works or it doesn’t. Kind of like how “they” decide where to put guard rails on mountain roads… if someone goes off, that’s probably a good place ..

    By NAMoosedog on Oct 24, 2010

  49. Check the computer.

    By TronDoc on Oct 24, 2010

  50. thank god it was not the us navy’s fault on this one ^^ we r the new people in singapore,i think?

    By claycorn on Oct 24, 2010

  51. seems to be that they are looking to blame someone - we had a similar incident in the UK and it took four years to clear the name of the pilots

    By Michael on Oct 24, 2010

  52. sounds like a maintenace issue, and a poor one at that

    By Walter O on Oct 24, 2010

  53. Nice article. There is and will always be a reason for a manufacturer and a government to want to assume no real liability, especially when there’s possibility of extreme loss or litigation. In this case here, the finger points to the manufacturer for providing unrealistic warranty leading to eventual damage to their product line. This happens all the time in the US that leads to recalls, however, there’s many cases that are hidden or kept quiet, because it could cost companies billions to fix. They would rather pay off or settle lawsuits than do to right thing.

    By Woodstock on Oct 24, 2010

  54. what is going on?

    By jeff mendenhall on Oct 24, 2010

  55. sounds like a load of old hogwash to me

    By andy r on Oct 24, 2010

  56. It is incredible nowadays, this sort of things can happen. As someone said above, gladly, no one got hurt.

    By Alberto on Oct 24, 2010

  57. didn’t anyone blame the ground for getting in the way?

    By Ra Man on Oct 25, 2010

  58. “Apaches are made by American aerospace giant Boeing.”

    Apaches were killed by the US Army.

    By CrimsonCrow on Oct 25, 2010

  59. Not that I know anything, but I would assume Apaches are pretty relaible machines. Something can go wrong with anything, at some point in the game. Very glad to hear for once that nobody was hurt. That being said, I don’t know if there’s anything scarier than going up in a helicopter, I don’t think I could do it. It’s a floating boulder. If something does go wrong, you’re going straight the f**k DOWN.

    God bless and protect everyone in the military. It is a tough, often miserable job, and we owe them all.

    By Ed C. on Oct 25, 2010

  60. “Stuff happens” so they say.

    By radiocitizen on Oct 25, 2010

  61. Just wondering if Boeing itself was notified (no comment in article). Also, what may have caused this to happen only in these isolated incidents when that same part is literally in aircraft worldwide? In any case it seems Admiral Teo is being proactive about it, I’d just like to know what the manufacturers’ guidelines are.

    By Tony on Oct 25, 2010

  62. Obama just blamed this incident on George Bush…

    By TDC on Oct 25, 2010

  63. Humidity will cause corrosion on metal parts-periodic inspections must be performed to assure product performance & safety.

    By Mr. L on Oct 25, 2010

  64. yea blame like crap flows downhill

    By el nato on Oct 25, 2010

  65. I echo the comment by Pierluigi, “Much easier to buy brand new stuff, than to maintain.”

    By parke on Oct 25, 2010

  66. Surprising to say the least. And thank god nobody was injured. They must find an answer to the problem.
    A curiosity: I don’t think many of us are experts in these matters, so why do you “need” our opinion? Just wondering, you know… I’m a curious bird…
    Interesting article, great site.

    By Frank on Oct 25, 2010

  67. very strange !!!

    By andré on Oct 25, 2010

  68. In America we’re so good at maintaining our infrastructure that highway bridges only collapse once in a while.

    By John M. on Oct 25, 2010

  69. What was an Apache attack helicopter doing flying (at low engine speeds, evidently) in that area? Just wondering.

    By UPTC on Oct 25, 2010

  70. I don’t think “corrosion” could typically happen overnight, so how in the world could it get to a point to completely shut-off both engines? Was there no indication of ANY malfunction prior to crash? If not really a corrosion and maintenance problem, then manufacturing and assembly will be to blame.

    By spin0rama on Oct 25, 2010

  71. how many Apache helicopters are there? By the looks of the article, this could happen to any of them… Didn’t another company recall a lot of faulty cars for spongy brakes? I’d say this would warrant a similar action (maybe not whole fleet recalls but certainly a professional in-depth inspection of each unit should be undertaken).

    By Mike McLaughlin on Oct 26, 2010

  72. Sounds to me like the makers of that valve have someone in their pocket! Oh, ONE of our valves failed after thousands of hours of flights? Well, gee, let’s make some $$$ making new ones.

    By Sluggo714 on Oct 26, 2010

  73. a component on a piece of equipment that shakes all the time failed? and the computer didn’t catch it?? unbelievable….NOT!! corrosion?? sounds like a dodge. and only the factory can take them apart. more corporate B.S. to make more money. and they say buy union made stuff because it’s better. better at costing more!!

    By rog on Oct 26, 2010

  74. mankind is able to fly to mars…this is strange.

    By Peter on Oct 26, 2010

  75. No matter how hard you try, you never can build anything breakable! Ouch!!! Lots of $$$$$ up in smoke!!!

    By Vittorio on Oct 26, 2010

  76. “The valve is to be replaced … when the engines are being run on the ground for tests”. Doesn’t seem an effective run for an anti-freeze device if the temperature isn’t below zero. With criteria like this it’s no wonder that a disaster struck!

    By DME on Oct 26, 2010

  77. It had to happen one day all things reach a use bye date. Luckily no one was killed this time round!!!!!

    By Meatmallet on Oct 26, 2010

  78. Hey! It’s all ball bearings nowadays. Now you prepare that Fetzer valve with some 3-in-1 oil and some gauze pads. And I’m gonna need ’bout ten quarts of anti-freeze, preferably Prestone. No, no make that Quaker State.

    By flecton on Oct 26, 2010

  79. Really? Of all the things that could have brought this baby down, the one that did would seem to be the easiest to control. Crazy

    By downeyvision on Oct 26, 2010

  80. As the Chinese say: “wha ta goo siam”. Often translated as: “What a goose I am”, but actually the speaker laments the good-old-days in Thailand. Ask Yul Brenner, he’d know.

    By Adam Dean on Oct 27, 2010

  81. interesting

    By adam on Oct 27, 2010

  82. Lucking situation!
    It’s a miracle!

    By Rochacrimson on Oct 27, 2010

  83. First such fault reported in Apache helicopters world wide? Sounds more like an isolated manufacturing defect, environmental conditions, lack of maintenance in one helicopter. If it starts to appear in other helicopters I would start to worry. For now, tighen up the maintenance. The history of the Apache has been good to date. I echo what others said, thank god no one was hurt.

    By SWT on Oct 27, 2010

  84. Brass, stainless steel and nylon parts are used because they dont corrode.So what are the real reasons for the crash?

    By TE Billings on Oct 27, 2010

  85. What the Hell ?

    By Jester on Oct 27, 2010

  86. I would think that even if corrosion were found, it should be picked up with routine maintenance.

    By M A Bogdono on Oct 27, 2010

  87. apaches are born, not made.

    By rynot on Oct 27, 2010

  88. Don’t know what happened actually. Ah yes, Thailand. The correct name of the guy who starred as the king of Siam in THE KING AND I is Yul Brynner,not Brenner. His roots were in Switzerland – like mine.

    I want thank you guys for all the hours and hours of pleasure you bring to my life.
    Music is ahealing force, indeed.

    Cheers Tony

    By Tony Lauber on Oct 27, 2010

  89. That could ruin your day.

    By John on Oct 28, 2010

  90. The maintenance procedures should be changed. Whoever operates uses the helicopters should insist on it.

    By Gerald on Oct 28, 2010

  91. Same problem they had in WWII. Gremlins.

    By Bilko2720 on Oct 28, 2010

  92. I guess thats why I still refuse to fly. Pilot error, manufacturing error what ever. I’ll stay on the ground. I’m a coward.

    By Eddieg on Oct 28, 2010

  93. If there is any doubt, wouldn’t you change all the suspect valves?

    By bill on Oct 29, 2010

  94. i just want a pass to free live music

    By IQ on Oct 30, 2010

  95. Corrosion? I think not!

    By rondelrio on Oct 30, 2010

  96. My Uncle Albert asks if you’ve consulted with Admiral Halsey…

    By Mauro on Oct 31, 2010

  97. So the valves were manufactured by BOEING??!

    I suspect those valves might actually be marked “Made In China.”

    By Jonny on Oct 31, 2010

  98. This appears to be an isolated incident given the number of Apaches flying. Dodgy valves? Or is something being covered up?

    By DL on Nov 1, 2010

  99. All aviation manufacturing contracts are awarded on a ‘lowest price wins’ basis. If you pay peanuts you get monkeys.

    By sebrof on Nov 1, 2010

  100. seems to correspond to most problems that involve a government entity. must have just happened cause it certainly is not our fault.

    By tim on Nov 1, 2010

  101. One fact left out of the article
    The pilot deserves a “well done” for landing without harm to any passengers or the folks on the grounds

    By BluesDawg54 on Nov 2, 2010

  102. the computer was not advised of the valve failure… and it’s never been reported by other Apache’s? Sounds like good deal for Boeing (more new valve’s and rebuilds/certifications) but I’m not convinced this was not a one off issue that just needs to be monitored and inspected.

    By jeff on Nov 2, 2010

  103. These things happen and will continue to do so

    By Matt_The_Cat on Nov 4, 2010

  104. Wasn’t it a valve that was the problem with the spill in the Gulf….

    By Nick on Nov 4, 2010

  105. We in France are unable to maintain the Charles de Gaulle Aircraft carrier, so I won’t criticize the US technicians.

    By Chocoreve on Nov 4, 2010

  106. Corroded engine valves brought down an RSAF Apache helicopter that crash-landed last month. (When engines fail, helicopters fall.)
    DPM Admiral Teo Chee Hean assured Parliament neither crap parts nor bad servicing were to blame for the corrosion.
    RSAF Apache and Seahawk helicopters will remain grounded until all problem valves are replaced. Meanwhile, chopper-maker Boeing is investigating why the valves corroded and how to prevent the problem recurring.

    That’s what he MEANT.

    But… be reasonable… won’t the DPM feel like a useless dick if he can’t make long meaningless speeches to parliament?

    By tk on Nov 4, 2010

  107. Sounds like this is created to make money for the manufacturer: there is a problem with a part, but nobody but the manufacturer can evaluate it. All such helicopters in the world must now be inspected by the manufacturer… nice built in price gouging

    By JD on Nov 5, 2010

  108. Obviously, the blogger wants folks to read this piece…but why? (I guess the absence of any collateral damage or loss of life from the crash dulls my conspiracy/cover up detector.) I must be missing something here…

    By steve22 on Nov 5, 2010

  109. This is a great story. Outstanding reporting. Thank you.

    By Tony Scop on Nov 6, 2010

  110. In spite of all best efforts, science, and technology, the laws of gravity cannot be prevented solved: “what goes up, must come down”.

    By Doyscoy on Nov 6, 2010

  111. I didn’t do it not my fault

    By Meatmallet on Nov 7, 2010

  112. Undoubtedly the part was manufactured in China!

    By Baz on Nov 7, 2010

  113. what was the point of the article? that things fall out of the sky?

    By huey on Nov 8, 2010

  114. Somebody’s ass is grass! OPPS

    By Ron on Nov 8, 2010

  115. …I’m a million miles away…from that helicopter day..

    By Gonzo on Nov 8, 2010

  116. Clearly another circle of finger pointing. No one accepts blame or takes ownership of anything these days…….

    By JN on Nov 9, 2010

  117. I agree with all of the above comments!

    By joe s on Nov 11, 2010

  118. At least no one was hurt…

    By Dave Derby on Nov 11, 2010

  119. Where’s Feynman when we need him

    By loulou on Nov 11, 2010

  120. No one is responsible for anything any more, especially if you have the money and lawyers to make that so. the middle and lower classes suffer the deaths and injuries attributable to corporations, but once again, they are not responsible. Sooner or later class warfare will erupt ALL over the world. We will all be plunged back to pre-industrial times and return to tribalism. Then, and ONLY then can we regain our true place on the planet…that of just one more species that is required to follow the Law of Life. I doubt I will klive to see the fall of civilization, but I will anticipate it’s wlide to ruin. The question is not if, but when.

    By Duncan Walls on Nov 11, 2010

  121. I just hope our airforce has heard about this in uk and checks all equipment for this Boeing made valve.

    By guardone on Nov 12, 2010

  122. I see that a lot of sheeple have weighed in in order to get the free live pass. Here’s a little bit of clarity from a former automotive expert: the anti-ice and start bleed valve is part of the engine start up process that gets the right amount of air into the fuel mixture. To move the valve, there is a solenoid, which is an electrical/mechanical component and prone to failure. In the presence of moisture–whether ice or other humidity (given that Singapore is not high on the ice patrol)–electrical connections are prone to corrode, and if the solenoid fails to move, the valve fails to open, and the engine will either fail to start or worse, stall in flight. Here is a diagram of the anti-ice valve: http://www.tpub.com/content/ahapache/TM-1-1520-238-T-4/css/TM-1-1520-238-T-4_109.htm.

    I am in no way defending Boeing or anyone’s airforce, just trying to take a lot of the “brass doesn’t corrode” idiocy out of the thread.

    By beelzbubba on Nov 12, 2010

  123. A key issue here is that technology is becoming increasingly complex. Aircraft safety is as good as the weakest element. If an element is not expected to be maintained, and can only be serviced by the supplier anyway,and is linked to computer alerts, it’s a bit harsh to lay blame.

    By AlanK on Nov 13, 2010

  124. Hi beelzbubba

    What is the likelihood of both anti-ice valves being corroded at the same time to seize the Apache’s twin engines? This appears to be the first time it has happened. Apaches can fly even on one engine.

    By admin on Nov 15, 2010

  125. I think the second “v” in the article’s title should probably be changed to a “u”. For the very existence of Apache helicopters and the military-industrial complex which spawned them, corroded VALUES are to blame.

    By Jeffro on Nov 15, 2010

  126. there is no perfection in technology. and never will be.

    By Peter on Nov 15, 2010

  127. They were probably decommissioned from the Iraq war and “refurbished to be just like new” before sold. Wonder if the US NTSB is investigating…

    By Dave on Nov 17, 2010

  128. woah!

    By brad on Nov 20, 2010

  129. It seems clear to me that no has really taken care of the equipment and for obvious reasons won’t admit it. Daily Maintenance and Safety first please.

    By Jules on Nov 21, 2010

  130. So no lives were lost correct? Either way, I think the helicopter should have been better-maintained. And the people at fault should have the courage to say that they screwed up…

    By Sam on Nov 24, 2010

  131. Air safety should be a priority. Maintenance is expensive but essential.

    By Randy on Nov 25, 2010

  132. The military-industrial complex strikes again. Is there anything that can’t go wrong?

    By JohnV on Nov 26, 2010

  133. Maybe toyota built the control system

    By tobaccocard on Nov 27, 2010

  134. Maybe it´s time for an Apache recall.

    By Belasco on Nov 28, 2010

  135. Like many others, I think all those pieces occuring at the same time to cause this to happen just seems unrealistic. And then to just replace the valve in ALL the existing helicopters. I’d like that contract, or is Boeing going to comp them? Unlikely. Sounds like a coverup of some sort.

    By Todd Adams on Dec 1, 2010

  136. Surely this must be a general maintenance issue, how could something that corroded be missed as it must be included in some of the scheduled maintenance programs or even noticed through emergant work. Bad practices if you ask me.

    By Stoner on Dec 1, 2010

  137. I’ve always felt nervous in helicopters, except for knowing that they can usually “autorotate” to a non-fatal landing if the engine conks out (not valid over oceans, mountain ranges or Godzilla-infested cities).

    By DouglasEC on Dec 2, 2010

  138. I am a Boeing stockholder and this isn’t a normal function of that part or the ‘Copter! There should be an extensive investigation into the failure and rectify the matter ASAP-
    The Apache is a proven warrior and in service all around the world. Prevention is the rally cry needed here.

    By John McNea on Dec 4, 2010

  139. Hi admin,

    The likelihood of them both failing at the same time can be looked at two ways: as a probability against all of the other solenoid valves of this type ever made: the chances of that happening are very small.

    The other way is to look at it the same was as flipping a coin. Every time a coin is flipped, the chances of a head or a tail are exactly 50/50. No matter how many times the coin is flipped, the next flip is still 50/50. The corrosion of electrical contacts in a solenoid unfortunately is not isolated or unusual, and the higher the humidity, the greater the chances leading to corrosion.

    So, long answer short, as a betting person, I get on commercial airplanes, ride on buses, drive cars every day, knowing that the chances of mishap are infinitessimal. As a former materials engineer, every time I get on any mechanical conveyance, I pray that everyone has done their job with 100% compliance.

    For an example: most people would consider a flight safety record of 99.997% to be pretty good. That’s 0.00003 failures out of 100. But with 90000 commercial flights daily, that’s almost 3 crashes a day.

    I just not a conspiratorialist when it comes to mechanical failure. No doubt there are instances of failure to inspect properly, and those lapses need to be accounted for.

    By beelzbubba on Dec 11, 2010

  140. One last comment about comments in the thread about the mechanism of failure. There is a lot of chatter about corroded valves, but given the mettalurgic composition of the valves, corrosion itself is unlikely and yes, suppositions are correct that corrosion of the valve itself should show up on an inspection.

    What would NOT show up necessarily is corrosion on the solenoid wiring. I included a link to a parts drawing of a typical anit-ice bleed valve. The solenoid is the vital piece to actuate the valve. It is, in effect, a small motor that opens and closes the valve. If it doesn’t work, the valve doesn’t work. Under inspection conditions, say in an airplane hangar, the solenoid couuld appear to work perfectly fine, but in the field it could equally likely fail.

    Secondly, people are suspicious that both could fail. I did not understand the article to say that one was the backup or “fail-safe” to the other, but that both need to be working. In any case, the corrosion that could lead one to fail would equally likely cause the other to fail. That both would fail at the same time is unlikely but not suspiciouus, at least not mechanically suspicious.

    For those of you who drive cars with automatic transmissions who’ve had a transmission fail to shift, there are many possible causes, but one that happens quite often is that the solenoid has failed, the one that moves a valve that changes the path of the transmission fluid in the trans, which “changes” the gears. It’s a $5 to $25 dollar part (even on a helicopter, it is probably a commercial solenoid) but without it, you don’t go.

    Unfortunately, when they needed these to do their jobs, they failed. Fortunately, only the helicopter was lost, not lives.

    By beelzbubba on Dec 14, 2010

  141. defective, random error or maintenance…. sounds more like a random chance incident and too many hours flying.
    I have a real hard time believing anything good about contemporary GUNSHIPS. Push ‘em all int the ocean and create a reef!

    By John McNea on Dec 16, 2010

  142. Haliburton and the evil Dick Cheney is at fault here along with George Bush and satan’s spawn, Sarah Palin.

    By Garu on Jan 15, 2011

  143. if you fly, shit happens, flying anything is still amongst the safest ways of getting from A to B even in a war machine

    By Liam NSW on Jan 16, 2011

  144. Which Pentagon brass is buddies with the guy whose company made the component? Maybe we could interview them together at their country club to see where the fault lies.

    By kingpossum on Jan 17, 2011

  145. Lucky these folks don’t design the bullet-proof vests… Swiss cheese!

    By Gary on Jan 18, 2011

  146. :-(

    By king69 on Jan 24, 2011

  147. someone fucked up the maintenance schedule here.

    By Skeletor on Feb 24, 2011

  148. this has NOTHING to do with labor unions. Parts need to be upgraded just like software and this was never done. The result is the loss of an expensive piece of military eqpt.
    Buy new? Buy German this time maybe…..

    By John P McNea III on Feb 25, 2011

  149. It seems clear that proper maintenance checks would have caught this

    By Keith on Mar 18, 2011

  150. bad stuff sometimes happens, even with a helicopter that gets well maintained, look what happened to the qantas A380

    By Liam NSW on Mar 22, 2011

  151. Wear and tear probably, but possible a deal for someone to make profit on subpar parts

    By Patrick Edmondson on Aug 1, 2011

  152. mmy pop was a wrench for United Airlines for 40 years.His opinion is bad maintenance amd faulty inspection standards. Military hardware like Apache copters in use all over the globe by any outfit with cash to buy them aren’t in thje habit of failing like this.I would agree with an earlier post and add the standard “operator error” as a cause as well.

    By Tim Martin on Nov 5, 2011

  153. It’s just a funny game!

    By Rijn B on Nov 16, 2011

  154. Prior to the asshole raygun being elected by the morons in america, NO foriegn corporation was allowed to supply hardware to military projects. What we have here is a peice of equipment manufactured outside of amerika failing due to poor quality control.

    By nobsartist on Apr 22, 2012

  155. let’s hope obama is a one term prez.What the American ppl would give to have a real leader like Ronald Reagan once again.

    By matt_the_cat on May 16, 2012

  156. I guess that….c’est la vie….

    By mik on Dec 15, 2015

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