The widow of a Blue Hawaiian pilot killed in the crash of a company Eurocopter EC130B4 in November 2011 has filed a suit against the air-tour operator and the helicopter’s manufacturer, citing product defects. Pilot Nathan Cline and four passengers were killed when the helicopter crashed on Molokai during a sightseeing flight. Witnesses at an elementary school near the crash site reported heavy rain squalls at the time of the accident. Official weather at the time was gusty wind out of the northeast from 17 to 27 knots, eight miles visibility and multiple scattered and broken cloud layers from 2,600 to 4,500 feet.
At least one witness has told investigators that he saw the helicopter’s tail boom separate before impact. The EC130B4 is the subject of an airworthiness directive regarding inspection of tail booms for cracks in the tail-boom/Fenestron junction frame originating at the plane of the rivet head countersink on the right hand side of the Fenestron and spreading to the web of the frame. Uncorrected, the condition could lead to separation of the Fenestron from the aircraft. The NTSB has not concluded its accident investigation.
Blue Hawaiian’s only prior fatal accident occurred on Maui in 2000 and killed seven when an AS355F1 flew into a mountainside in low ceilings.