Final Report: Low-level maneuvering caused loss of control

 - January 31, 2007, 10:51 AM

Bell 206B3, Atlantic City, Wyo., Aug. 23, 2004–The Hawkins and Powers Aviation pilot was filming and had completed a “high groundspeed” pass when he encountered what he called wind shear and a “15- to 20-knot tailwind” while maneuvering close to the ground. The helicopter did not respond to control inputs and crashed, rolling over, crushing the forward fuselage and substantially damaging the helicopter. The pilot and one passenger were seriously injured. Two passengers had minor injuries. Wind at nearby Lander, Wyo., was 210 degrees at 15 knots, gusting to 18 knots.

The NTSB’s final report said the accident was caused by the pilot’s inability to maintain aircraft control, improper in-flight planning and decision-making and failure to compensate for wind conditions, resulting in collision with terrain. Contributing factors were the intentional low-level maneuver and the wind-shear conditions.