Causes Reached in Two Helicopter Accidents

 - January 8, 2007, 10:36 AM

The NTSB determined the probable causes of two helicopter accidents. In one, a sightseeing Bell 206L LongRanger that crashed into the East River in Manhattan on takeoff was found to be 222 pounds overweight. The Board blamed the Helicopter Professionals pilot’s “inadequate preflight planning” in the June 14, 2005 crash. One passenger was severely injured. The other was an Era Aviation Sikorsky S-76++ that crashed into the Gulf of Mexico because of the flight crew’s failure to “identify and arrest the helicopter’s descent,” according to the Safety Board. Although VMC prevailed during the March 23, 2004 flight, it was a dark night with few visual cues. The S-76 was flying eight oil workers to an offshore drilling ship; all eight and the two pilots were killed. The helicopter was not equipped with a flight-data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder was unreadable. The Board concluded that the flight crew was not monitoring the helicopter’s altitude and missed cues they were descending toward the water.