Bell 206L LongRanger, New York, N.Y., June 14, 2005–The NTSB blamed the crash of the Helicopter Professionals LongRanger on “the pilot’s inadequate preflight planning, which resulted in an attempted takeoff with an overweight helicopter and subsequent impact with a pier and water.” According to the Safety Board, a high ambient temperature and unfavorable wind were factors in the crash, which all the occupants survived.
The helicopter had landed at the Port Authority Downtown Manhattan/Wall Street Heliport facing north with approximately 220 pounds of fuel to pick up six passengers for a sightseeing flight.
The commercial pilot merely estimated the passengers’ weight, and the helicopter was subsequently found to be 222 pounds overweight. Lifting off to hover, the helicopter turned 90 degrees to head west, but the wind was northeast at about five knots.
The pilot, realizing the wind direction, turned right about 270 degrees and started a southeasterly takeoff run, at about a 160-degree heading. The skids hit the ground.
The pilot felt he didn’t have full power. The helicopter did not gain altitude and the tail rotor struck the edge of the pier as it fell into the East River. One passenger was severely injured.