Factual Report: AS 350 crashes in mountains

 - June 8, 2007, 6:14 AM

Eurocopter AS 350-B3, Yellow Pine, Idaho, Aug. 13, 2006–The AS 350 was destroyed and the commercial pilot and three passengers killed when the helicopter crashed 18 miles west of Yellow Pine. The helicopter was being operated by Evergreen Helicopters, of McMinnville, Ore., under contract to the U.S. Forest Service. The helicopter had flown from Krassel Helibase to take a relief fire lookout to Williams Peak lookout tower. On that leg, the fire lookout said that forest fire smoke limited the visibility in the lower valley to about a mile, but as the pilot flew up the mountain, about 100 to 200 feet above the terrain, visibility got better. The helicopter was returning to Krassel Helibase when the accident occurred.

Crewmembers assigned to the helicopter told U.S. Forest Service investigators that the 4,386-hour pilot liked “showy” flying at times.

The accident occurred in mountains in the Payette National Forest, near the Salmon River.