Preliminary Report: Power loss downs two JetRangers

 - December 1, 2008, 6:53 AM

Bell 206B JetRanger, Longview, Wash., Oct. 10, 2008–The Northwest Helicopters JetRanger lost power while hauling tree limbs. The pilot attempted a power-out forced landing at the bottom of a steep ravine covered with 30-foot conifer trees. The pilot was seriously injured and the helicopter was substantially damaged.

Bell 206 JetRanger, Conroe, Texas, Oct. 13, 2008–The KTRK-TV JetRanger lost power and crashed into trees near Conroe. The helicopter, operated by a Houston TV station, was en route to cover a “breaking news story” in Conroe, in visual conditions with no flight plan filed. The commercial pilot and news photographer were killed.

A witness saw the helicopter flying low and banking steeply to the right before descending nose-down. Investigators found one tail rotor blade straight and the other blade bent 90 degrees. One main rotor blade was still attached to the hub; only the trailing edge and mid-chord showed damage. The stub of the other main rotor blade remained attached to the hub, but the remainder was destroyed in the resulting fire. The metal leading edge of the rotor blade was found nearby and showed no impact damage. Pitch and collective control rods were attached to their linkages, which were attached to their respective servos. A nut on a line in the engine was only finger-tight.