Bell 206B JetRanger, Boulder City, Nev., Nov. 11, 2006–The commercial pilot of Jet-Ranger N59571 was preparing for a local tour flight at a privately owned heliport at the Hacienda Hotel. He started the helicopter, did a runup and performed preflight checks. After increasing the engine and rotor rpm to 100 percent and checking the generator load, he left the cockpit to disconnect the APU and move it away from the helicopter.
Bell Helicopter last month celebrated the 40th anniversary of its popular 206 model. More than 4,800 206Bs and 1,700 206Ls have been produced since the introduction of the 206A JetRanger on Jan. 13, 1967. “We are currently developing the latest upgrade kit for the 206L that will improve its performance, boost payload and reduce direct operating costs,” 206 program director Dorith Hakim said.
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.
Bell 206B-3 JetRanger, Shelbyville, Texas, March 10, 2005–The NTSB could not determine the reason for the loss of control and subsequent crash of the JetRanger and blamed the accident on the pilot’s failure to maintain altitude and clearance for undetermined reasons.
Bell 206L-3 LongRanger, Gulf of Mexico, Aug. 13, 2003–The NTSB said that the cause of the accident was the pilot’s inadequate compensation for crosswind conditions and failure to obtain and maintain directional control. The crosswind was a contributing factor, as was the pilot’s attempt to position the helicopter near the refueling station in a crosswind to perform a hot refueling.
Bell 206L LongRanger, Colville Lake, Canada, Oct. 5, 2006–A Canadian-registered LongRanger lost power on approach to a remote location and the pilot performed an autorotation. The LongRanger, which belonged to Great Slave Helicopters, was substantially damaged, and one passenger suffered minor injuries. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating.
Bell 206-L1 LongRanger, Gentry, Ark., Feb. 21, 2005–The NTSB attributed the EMS accident to the pilot’s improper decision to maneuver in an environment conducive to a loss of tail-rotor effectiveness and his failure to properly execute an autorotation. The prevailing crosswind was a contributing factor.
Bell 206L-3 LongRanger, Gulf of Mexico, Aug. 13, 2003–The NTSB determined that the cause of the accident was the pilot’s inadequate compensation for crosswind conditions and failure to obtain and maintain directional control. The crosswind was a contributing factor, as was the pilot’s attempt to position the helicopter near the refueling station in a crosswind to perform a hot refueling.
A September 7 information letter from Bell Helicopter warns Bell 206 and 206L operators of potential problems with STC'd Boundary Layer Research (BLR) tailboom strakes.
Bell Helicopter recently issued new information letters expressing concern about BLR Aerospace tailboom strakes. Bell issued a similar letter in 1995 when BLR obtained certification for use of tailboom strakes on Bell’s line of medium helicopters.