‘Loud Noise’ Preceded crash of PHI S-76

 - February 27, 2009, 10:29 AM

The NTSB is continuing its investigation into the fatal January 4 crash of a PHI-operated 2006 Sikorsky S-76C++ near Morgan City, La. Tear-down and tests of all critical components thus far have revealed no anomalies, but the CVR’s cockpit and area microphones picked up a “loud noise,” followed by an ongoing increase in “background” noise, at the time the helicopter abruptly lost torque in both engines. The engines continued to make low power until impact. Investigators have found no evidence of fuel starvation, a bird strike or electrical arcing, but the NTSB has sent the remains of the windshield to Washington for further analysis. The remaining 12 S-76s operated by PHI for Royal Dutch Shell in the Gulf have been grounded at the customer’s request while the investigation continues.