Final Report: Dark night factor in Jetranger crash

 - January 24, 2007, 10:17 AM

Bell 206B JetRanger, Bonifay, Fla., Feb. 5, 2005–The NTSB determined the probable cause of the crash of the Lance Aviation JetRanger on takeoff was the commercial pilot’s failure to maintain a climb after takeoff and his continued descent. A factor was the dark night. The pilot’s wife, who was watching him take off, said that at about 75 to 100 feet, the helicopter assumed a slight nose-low descending attitude and suddenly hit the ground.

The helicopter hit hard on its skids, mainly the right one, fell over on the right side, rolled inverted, then rolled back on the right side. The wife said the helicopter was not making the usual gentle movements she had become used to while observing her husband. A second witness heard a loud “pop” noise and saw a momentary blaze of fire before the helicopter nosed over and hit the ground upside down. The pilot was killed in the crash.