Final Report: Oil rig helo ran out of fuel

 - September 20, 2006, 6:51 AM

Bell 206B JetRanger, Gulf of Mexico, Aug. 18, 2005–The NTSB concluded that the pilot’s improper fuel calculations caused the Air Logistics JetRanger to crash into the Gulf of Mexico because of fuel exhaustion. The pilot had enough fuel for approximately one hour and 50 minutes with no reserve when he flew to an oil platform, where oil was spotted on the side of the fuselage.

A mechanic determined that the transmission had been over-serviced and since the pilot said he didn’t have enough fuel for a 30- to 60-minute ground run, the mechanic said they could do a five-minute run and a five-minute hover. This accomplished, the pilot and mechanic departed for another platform. The helicopter made “some strange turns left and right,” according to witnesses. Then it straightened up and just before it got to the platform’s heliport, it “sounded like it lost power and started dropping rapidly.” The helicopter descended below the platform’s living quarters, hit the oil platform and fell into the water below. The emergency floats did not deploy. The pilot and the mechanic were killed.