The Transportation Safety Board of Canada reported that the crash of a Bell 206B last May 75 miles north of Fort McMurray in Alberta was caused by the pilot’s failure to recognize that the aircraft was entering a right-quartering tailwind that reduced the effectiveness of the helicopter’s tail rotor.
Loss of tail-rotor effectiveness
Completing a safe landing after a power failure or autorotation requires regular training, the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) reminds helicopter students and flight instructors.
The NTSB is faulting the pilot of a Bell 206 that crashed into New York’s East River in 2011, killing three of the four passengers after it experienced an apparent loss of tail rotor effectiveness (LTE).
Bell 206L LongRanger, Nikolai, Alaska, March 4, 2008–The pilot of the LongRanger was maneuvering while his passenger was filming a dogsled race when, he said, a gust of wind caused a loss of tail-rotor effectiveness. The helicopter started to turn to the right, and the pilot reduced collective pitch and followed the turn to regain control. He was losing altitude and approaching the ground.
Bell 206L-3 LongRanger, Whiteriver, Ariz., July 26, 2003–The NTSB found that the crash of the LongRanger firefighting ferry flight was the result of the commercial pilot’s failure to maintain a minimum translational lift airspeed while maneuvering in high density-altitude conditions (calculated to be 11,968 feet) at near maximum required torque and above the in-ground-effect hover altitude.
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.