Snow blindness caused Eurocopter crash
Eurocopter AS 350B2E, Haines, Alaska, April 12, 2009–The NTSB determined the cause of the Coastal Helicopters crash to be the pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from snow-covered terrain during the landing approach in flat light conditions. The AS 350, which was engaged in helicopter skiing operations at the time of the accident, sustained substantial damage when it collided with the snow-covered glacier as
it approached to pick up skiers for a ride back up to the summit. According to the company’s general manager, the pilot indicated that he had just transitioned from bright sunlight to shadow and was unable to accurately gauge his height above the glacier. The pilot was seriously injured.