NTSB Opens Sundance Crash Docket

 - July 3, 2012, 3:55 AM

The NTSB has opened the docket on the fatal crash of a Las Vegas tour helicopter late last year.

On Dec. 7, 2011 at 4:30 Pacific Standard Time, a Eurocopter AS350B2, operated by Sundance Helicopters as Flight Landmark 57, crashed in mountainous terrain approximately 14 miles east of Las Vegas. The flight, a sightseeing tour, departed Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) en route to the Hoover Dam area and was operating under visual flight rules. The helicopter crashed in a narrow ravine in mountainous terrain between the cities of Henderson and Lake Mead. The pilot and four passengers were killed. Radar data showed the helicopter made a steep climb and several sharp turns before descending at a rate in excess of 4,000 feet per minute.

The 1988 helicopter was originally manufactured as an AS350B and had accumulated 25,216 hours since new. Total time on the rental engine was 7,400 hours. The helicopter had been returned to service earlier on the day of the crash following major maintenance that included an engine change and main and tail rotor actuator replacement. NTSB investigators evaluating the wreckage identified that the fore/aft servo input rod was not connected to the fore/aft servo and that connecting hardware was missing. The full docket is available at http://go.usa.gov/vrW.