Preliminary Report: Rash of JetRanger fatals

 - July 25, 2007, 6:00 AM

BELL 206B JETRANGER, MESA, ARIZ., JUNE 24, 2004–While maneuvering on a trailer at Falcon Field, JetRanger N97AZ hooked a skid on the underside of the trailer, causing the helicopter to flip over and crash. Operated by Arizona Helicopter Adventures, the rotorcraft was destroyed and the sole occupant pilot was killed. The commercial pilot had recently obtained the trailer from a Bell 47 operator and was practicing landing on it, starting at about 7 p.m., as daylight faded. He landed on the trailer at about 9:10 p.m. and was lifting off again when the left rear skid ground-handling lug hooked a D ring on the trailer and the helicopter flipped over.

The pilot was planning to trailer the helicopter to Canada for use during his vacation.

BELL 206B JETRANGER, CUSHING, OKLA., JUNE 26, 2004–While on a sightseeing flight at 8:45 p.m., Jetranger N27TV crashed into the Cimarron River after becoming entangled in unmarked powerlines approximately 40 feet above the river. Three passengers with serious injuries were rescued from the submerged helicopter by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. The pilot and another passenger were killed. The three injured people were members of a band, the Red Dirt Rangers, according to a local newspaper. The operator, Interstate Helicopters, said the helicopter had been chartered by a private individual to provide sightseeing rides to guests at a birthday party near Cushing.

BELL 206B JETRANGER, INTRACOASTAL CITY, LA., JUNE 24, 2004–American Helicopters Bell N5006F crashed en route from Eugene Island to Intracoastal City under unknown circumstances. According to a local newspaper, the helicopter reportedly sent out a Mayday call during stormy weather about 25 miles from Intracoastal City. The helicopter was reported missing on June 24 and the wreckage was located two days later north of Marsh Island in Vermillion Bay. The three people on board were killed and the on-demand air-taxi helicopter was destroyed. Weather was unknown. The aircraft was owned by Omni Energy Services, a seismic surveying company used by oil and natural gas companies.