Factual Report: Helos collide after Nascar event

 - December 18, 2006, 8:43 AM

Aerospatiale AS 350B/Eurocopter EC 130B4, Homestead, Fla., Nov. 20, 2005–The Biscayne Helicopters AS 350B and the HelicopterShuttle.com EC 130 collided on approach to the Motorsports Complex VIP Heliport (Speedway Heliport) in Homestead. Weather was VMC and neither helicopter was on a flight plan. The commercial pilot of the EC 130 was killed; the commercial pilot of the AS 350 was not injured. Both helicopters were substantially damaged.

The two helicopters were flying to the Speedway Heliport to pick up passengers who had attended a Nascar race, which had just ended. Both pilots were in contact with ATC from their departure points. The AS 350 had its strobe, position and searchlights on. The EC 130 had at least its landing lights on.

ATC told the EC 130 pilot, “Watch for two others inbound from the north.” He later requested a frequency change to the Speedway traffic advisory service. There were no more recorded transmissions from the EC 130, although the person who provided VFR advisory service to inbound helicopters said that the pilots of both helicopters announced on the advisory frequency that they were inbound to land.

ATC advised the AS 350B pilot that there were “about four of them ahead of you. Contact track control.” The pilot acknowledged but there were no further recorded transmissions, although the pilot said that he contacted race control and was told to follow an Agusta 109 “to the pad.” The AS 350B pilot said that shortly after he turned on final, “I felt a shudder and then the aircraft started to vibrate significantly.” He heard the president of Biscayne Helicopters say on the frequency that there had been a midair.