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Human error cited in Apache crash
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-26 02:01 PM
Human error has been fingered as the culprit in the crash landing of a recently-acquired AH-64E Apache attack helicopter on the roof of a residence in Taoyuan April 25. A month-long study by the army indicates and the mishap shows the amount of instruction given over to instrument flight training is still far from adequate.

Major Chen Long-chien was piloting the aircraft, an Apache with the frame number 808, along with flight instructor Colonel Liu Ming-hui, on a training mission from the 601st Aviation Brigade. Not long after taking off, however, the chopper crashed onto the roof of a four-story residence near the brigade. Fortunately the two pilots suffered only minor injuries.

Media reports say the weather was poor on the day of the incident and the interior of the aircraft fogged up after the pilot took off, and as the chopper climbed the cloud cover suddenly dropped. The pilot started to climb but visibility was still extremely poor, and the two decided to return to base. They emerged from a cloud bank to find the aircraft rushing toward a row of residences, and there was not enough time to climb, so the pilot “set the helicopter down’ on the roof of one of the apartment complexes.

After more than a month of investigation the military believes that the main cause of the crash was human error. The report cites the adverse weather conditions and poor visibility, noting that the pilots were unable to find a visual reference point. The crew neglected to pay close attention to altimeter readings and switched on the infrared system, but failed to notice that the nose of the craft was too depressed, leading to the accident.

Chen is an instructor in a program to develop a core of trainers for the Apaches and underwent a course of flight training in the US, yet the April 25 mishap still occurred. Investigators noted that this indicates the instrument flight training portion of instruction is insufficient and recommended that the amount of time devoted to IFT needs to be increased, rather than calling for punishment of the pilots involved in the crash.

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