Bell 206B-III, Shelbyville, Texas, March 10, 2005–Brainerd Helicopter Service’s JetRanger, operated by the U.S. Forest Service, was substantially damaged when it crashed in a heavily wooded area in the Sabine National Forest. The ATP-rated pilot and two Forest Service crewmembers were killed. The VFR flight was supporting a prescribed fire, applying aerial ignition spheres over a forest of 50- to 60-foot-high trees.
Bell 206L3 LongRanger, Gulf of Mexico, Oct. 6, 2005–The Industrial Helicopters Long-Ranger disappeared while operating in the Gulf of Mexico. The fate of the commercial pilot and two passengers is unknown, but they are presumed dead. The helicopter had made two flights that day, from a company heliport in Scott, La., to two oil platforms, returning to the heliport.
Bell 206B LongRanger, Gulf of Mexico, Aug. 18, 2005–While attempting to land on the West Cameron 560 offshore oil platform, the Bell 206 hit the platform and crashed into the water. The commercial pilot and a mechanic were killed. Operated by Air Logistics of New Iberia, La., the helicopter was flying from another offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
Bell Helicopter has selected Chelton Flight Systems to provide a synthetic-vision EFIS cockpit for the 407 program. The contract has a potential value of more than $100 million.
Bell claims to be the first OEM to offer synthetic vision for all its light and medium single-engine models. Plans call for Chelton equipment to become the “preferred” system offered for the 206B JetRanger, 206L LongRanger and the new 210.
Bell 206B JetRanger, New Orleans, Sept. 7, 2005–A JetRanger photo flight operated by Helitrans of Manvel, Texas, crashed while maneuvering within the New Orleans temporary flight restricted area established after Hurricane Katrina. At “approximately 500 feet and 40 knots in a left turn,” the JetRanger’s nose “pitched up and began to turn right.”
Bell 206L-1 LongRanger, Galliano, La., March 13, 2005–LongRanger N480RA was destroyed when it crashed into the Gulf of Mexico when departing an offshore oil rig platform. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was seriously injured.
After making a dawn raid on an airport, armed gunmen stole a government-owned Bell 206L in eastern Venezuela. According to the local governor, it was the second helicopter to be stolen from the airport at Ciudad Bolivar in less than a year.
The NTSB said it confirmed throttle and flight control continuity, as well as fuel type and quantity, in the 1977 Bell 206L that crashed into the East River as it was taking off from Wall Street Heliport, N.Y., on June 14. The pilot and his six passengers were injured when the sightseeing helicopter, operated by New York-based Helicopter Flight Services, fell into the river and rolled inverted.
Bell 206L-1 LongRanger, Galliano, La., March 13, 2005–Parked on a platform in the Gulf of Mexico for approximately 10 minutes with the main rotor rpm at ground idle, the commercial pilot had his head down making an entry on the flight manifest. He had a sensation that the helicopter was “rocking backwards” and grabbed both controls in an effort to “level” the helicopter. He lifted up on the collective and pushed forward on the cyclic.
Bell 206L, New York, June 14, 2005–Bell 206L N78TD was substantially damaged when it crashed in the East River during takeoff from the Port Authority Downtown Manhattan/Wall Street Heliport. The commercial pilot and five passengers sustained minor injuries, while one passenger was seriously injured. VMC prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local commercial sightseeing flight conducted under Part 91.