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HeliTorque :: View topic - Dec. 2004 Air Evac Crash Prelim Report
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HeliTorque Forum Index » Flight Safety

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Dec. 2004 Air Evac Crash Prelim Report
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RotorbladesUS
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Shy 'Torquer


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 6:08 am    Post subject: Dec. 2004 Air Evac Crash Prelim Report Reply with quote

NTSB Identification: LAX05FA053
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 14, 2004 in Apache Junction, AZ
Aircraft: Eurocopter AS-350-B3, registration: N971AE
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On December 14, 2004, at 2237 mountain standard time, a Eurocopter AS-350-B3, N971AE, operating under the call sign Air-Evac II, collided with terrain while attempting a landing at Apache Junction, Arizona. The helicopter was operated by Petroleum Helicopters, Inc., under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The commercial pilot and a medical crewmember both received serious injuries; a flight nurse received fatal injuries. The helicopter was destroyed. The air medical flight originated at a local base of operation and was positioning for a patient recovery to a hospital. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a company flight plan had been filed. The wreckage was at 33 degrees 24.50 minutes north latitude and 111 degrees 27.15 minutes west longitude.

The emergency landing zone was located in a store parking lot. The area for landing was secured by Apache Junction police and fire department personnel. The pilot was in communication with the services for possible landing obstructions. The pilot confirmed the final landing zone and light pole obstructions.

Witnesses reported that the helicopter over flew the landing zone in right turns, then approached from the northeast. The observations of the final approach altitude were estimated at 100 to 300 feet above ground level.

During the final approach the helicopter was observed to become unstable. It rolled right on the longitudinal axis about 30 degrees, then left about the same, then right about 45 degrees, pitched nose up to the left, and descended while rotating left.

The helicopter impacted the parking lot nose down on the left side. The left skid was destroyed and the right skid was intact.

Witnesses agreed on the sound of an air release similar to the release of air pressure from truck air brakes.

The engine continued to run after impact and was subsequently stopped by the fire department spraying foam into the engine air inlet.

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Does this sound like it could be a loss of hydraulics? I've heard speculation that the pilot may have unintentionally turned off the hydraulics when she went to turn on the landing light. Does anyone know if there is any validity to that speculation?
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