Two Las Vegas Police Department flight officers, both flight instructors, sustained minor injuries on September 24, when their MD 369 helicopter landed hard during a VFR practice autorotation during a training mission at the North Las Vegas Airport (KVGT). The senior officer flying said the helicopter entered a high vertical sink rate before he could stop it. The helicopter was destroyed when it rolled on its right side after striking terrain. The tailboom quickly separated.
FOCUS on…AUTOROTATION TRAINING “Infrequent autorotation training is dangerous,” said Chad Oakley, chief pilot at the Bell Academy, yesterday at a Heli-Expo training session called, “Autorotations, Reality Exposed.” Other participants at the one-hour session–pilots, instructors, and representatives from the FAA, NTSB, OEMs, and several fleet operators–agreed.
Eurocopter expects that its recently tested helicopter hybrid power concept will enter commercial service, soon perhaps as early as next year.
Following a watershed year that marked the retirement of company founder Frank Robinson, the certification and first deliveries of its new R66 turbine single and its worst sales numbers since 1987, Robinson Helicopter (Booth No. 2928) is positioning itself for strengthening sales and new product development.
Canadaπs Transportation Safety Board (TSB) issued its final report February 9 on the fatal 2009 accident of a Cougar Helicopters Sikorsky S-92A off Newfoundland that killed 17. The helicopter crashed while attempting to ditch after its main gearbox lubrication system failed due to two cracked oil filter bowl mounting studs.
MD Helicopters MD902, Salinas, Calif., July 21, 2008–The NTSB has determined that the pilot’s inability to maintain directional control of the helicopter stemmed from the fatigue failure of the threaded portion of the forward directional-control cable, resulting from an improperly installed lock washer.
The lobbying association for the French helicopter industry, the Union Française de l’Hélicoptère (UFH), is raising concerns about gestating noise rules that could practically ban commercial flights from urban areas. The association fears legislators are writing such a rule with input only from heli- port neighbors, some of whom are members of anti-helicopter associations.
Bell 407, Decatur, Texas, Dec. 25, 2009–The medevac helicopter was departing on a Part 91 positioning flight to pick up a patient when it lost all engine power at a height of about 100 feet, according to the pilot, who autorotated the helicopter back to the original helipad. The 407 sustained structural damage to its lower fuselage as it landed hard in an upright position.
Bell 206B, Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada, May 13, 2008–Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) was unable to determine the cause of the power loss that led to the crash of the JetRanger.
The 206B was traveling at about 120 feet above the city on a power-line inspection flight when a sudden decrease in rotor rpm caused it to plunge uncontrolled to the ground.
Bell 407, DeLand, Fla., Jan. 7, 2008– A total loss of engine power due to the fatigue failure of a third-stage turbine wheel blade downed the single-engine helicopter, the NTSB determined. The 407–operating as an EMS transport– was nearing its patient pickup destination when the pilot reported hearing a loud bang, which was followed by a yaw to the left.