Guimbal Suffers First Fatal U.S. Crash

 - May 5, 2019, 3:18 PM

Shortly after noon on Saturday, a 2017 Helicopteres Guimbal Cabri G2, N572MD, owned by JSC Investment Group in Fort Meade, Maryland, crashed into the Chesapeake Bay less than one mile off Kent Island at Bloody Point near the Bay Bridge, killing both occupants. Maryland authorities identified the two as pilot Charles Knight and passenger Matt Clarke. Knight had rented the helicopter from Monumental Helicopters in Tipton, Maryland. It was the first fatal crash of a G2 in the U.S.

Monumental was offering a two-day transition course in the G2 that included seven hours of ground and five hours of flight time and offering five-hour rental blocks in the aircraft. Weather conditions in the area were reported as lifting fog with winds at 5 to 10 knots. Citing weather conditions, the Maryland State Police declined to dispatch one of its Leonardo AW139s to the scene. A witness in the area reported hearing the helicopter’s engine misfiring immediately before the crash. The main wreckage was recovered in 55 feet of water Saturday evening. The accident was the second involving a G2 in the U.S. in less than two weeks; there have been a half-dozen since 2016.  

On April 26, 2019, a 2015 Cabri G2 owned and operated by Precision Helicopters crashed and came to rest on its side at the McMinnville, Oregon airport during a training flight. The instructor and student were not injured. On Sept. 3, 2018, a G2 on an instructional flight crashed at John Wayne—Orange County Airport near Santa Ana, California, while practicing an autorotation on an instructional flight operated by One Above Aviation. The instructor was unable to arrest the descent and the helicopter came to rest on its side with substantial damage. There were no injuries.

During an instructional flight on Jan. 22, 2018, in Cahokia, Illinois, a student flying with an instructor in a G2 owned by North American Helicopter and operated by Midwest Helicopter Academy lost control while performing an approach to hover with a quartering gusting headwind of 11 to 20 knots. The helicopter spun, touched down, rolled on its side, and was substantially damaged. The occupants survived with minor injuries.

Minor injuries were also reported after an instructional flight on July 28, 2017, when a G2 operated by Texas Rotorwing crashed at the Beaumont, Texas municipal airport (BMT) while the instructor was aggressively bank-turning during a low altitude circuit and lost power. The helicopter performed a landing skid and then rolled over on its right side. In January 2016, also in Beaumont, a G2 operated by Neches Helicopter Training hit terrain after encountering gusts during a hover taxi. The pilot and passenger were not injured. In its final report on that accident, the NTSB noted that Helicopteres Guimbal issued a service letter that stressed the importance of applying aggressive right pedal if the helicopter yaws left during approach to landing: “Never hesitate to apply full right pedal to correct a yawing to the left before it gets faster. Keep the pedal to its stop until the rotation stops completely.”