Preliminary Report: Sikorsky S-61A, Dunsmuir, CA
SIKORSKY S-61A, DUNSMUIR, CALIF., MARCH 26, 2002–Visual meteorological conditions prevailed when the twin-engine helicopter hit terrain, killing the pilot and seriously injuring the copilot, both commercially rated. According to the investigator’s interview with the operator, Croman Corp. of White City, Ore., the pilot was maneuvering the helicopter in the area as part of a logging operation.
A ground worker, and witness to the accident, was in radio contact with the pilot, guiding him to the location where steel chokers were attached around the log. The worker told the pilot his position had moved 100 yards closer toward Mt. Shasta
and indicated this would be the location for the next drop of chokers. The pilot acknowledged but then overflew the drop zone. Seeing tan smoke coming from the engine/transmission area, the witness also noticed the helicopter appeared to be gliding. He thought the blades were circling more slowly than usual and told investigators they were “coning extensively.” As the helicopter hit the ground fire erupted, consuming the cockpit, cabin and transmission.