Monday, January 27, 2014

Chicago O'Hare International Airport (KORD), Illinois

CHICAGO (AP) — Officials of Republic Airlines say no passengers were seriously injured when the pilot of a Republic Airlines flight from Washington D.C. ordered an evacuation after the plane landed at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Republic Flight 4309 was operating as an American Eagle flight when it landed safely Monday. However, airline officials say the pilot made the decision to evacuate the Embraer 175 aircraft due to an instrument warning of a possible issue aboard the aircraft.

The passengers left the plane via chutes.

The airline said 57 passengers and four crew members were aboard the flight.



Source:    http://www.sfgate.com

Dothan Regional Airport (KDHN), Alabama

Runway at Dothan Airport will be tested for ice

The Dothan Airport will test its runway for ice late Tuesday or early Wednesday. “We’ll see if passes the friction test and, if it doesn’t, we’ll close the airport,” said Airport Manager Art Morris III. If ice is found then the airport would be closed.

A winter storm warning has been issued for much of Tuesday and Wednesday. There is a chance of sleet, freezing rain, and snow. If ice forms then it could make it unsafe for airplanes to land.

“It would cancel flights but I suspect if we were having that issue then the Atlanta Airport would also,” Morris said. All commercial flights leaving and arriving in Dothan are either bound out of or into the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.

Morris said, in his 28 years at the Dothan Airport, he’s seen it closed only twice for ice. The longest period was eight hours.

Source:    http://www.dothanfirst.com

Guana Bay, St. Maarten

Photo Gallery:    http://www.sxmislandtime.com

Plane crashes into sea, three survivors rescued

 GUANA BAY--Three people were rescued after a private airplane crashed into the sea yesterday afternoon.

The plane, a 1977 six-seat Piper PA-23 250 Aztec F, had three people on board. It had left Grand Case Airport en route to St. Barths when both engines lost power. The pilot sent out a Mayday message and the plane descended into the sea approximately two miles Northeast of the coast of Guana Bay at 4:50pm.

The aircraft was owned by Wells Fargo Bank Northwest Na Trustee, a corporation registered in Utah, United States, and the two men and a woman on board were all American citizens. The aircraft was used regularly to fly between St. Maarten, St. Barths and surrounding islands.

The rescue operation was coordinated between the Dutch and the French Coast Guards. Three Coast Guard boats and two Sea Rescue boats went in search of survivors, assisted by the Voyager ferry and a local helicopter.

According to a press release issued by the Sint Maarten police late last night, patrols also were sent to the Guana Bay and Dawn Beach areas to try to locate where the plane had gone down. "With the assistance of a witness the police were able to communicate with emergency services and direct them to where the aircraft had gone down," police spokesman Inspector Ricardo Henson stated in the press release.

By 6:10 p.m. the crew of the Voyager had rescued the plane's occupants from the rough seas. All three were alive and had no serious injuries. The aircraft had sunk to the bottom of the sea.

The three were taken to Bobby's Marina by a Sea Rescue boat, where they were met by paramedics, were treated on the scene for facial injuries and were reported to have significant facial bruising. They were transported to St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) where they received further treatment.

"Due to good coordination and input from all emergency services and the Voyager all three victims were rescued before nightfall. An investigation into the cause of the incident will follow," Henson said.


Source:    http://www.thedailyherald.com


Aircraft crashes after takeoff from St. Barths Monday, American passengers rescued with minor injuries 


PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - A Piper Aztec twin engine aircraft crashed on Monday afternoon two and a half miles out of Guana Bay.

At approximately five (5pm) we got news that the aircraft with three American Nationals on board had gone down.

The aircraft which originated from St. Barths had just departed Grand Case and was en route to St. Barths when it crashed for unknown reasons. Apparently both engines of the aircraft died on the pilot before he ditched.

This is usually a sign of fuel contamination or fuel-line blockage however the cause of the crash has not yet been determined.

The three passengers on board of the aircraft are alive and were rescued and brought to shore in St. Maarten.

The passengers were initially rescued by the Voyager vessel and brought to shore by the St. Maarten Sea Rescue and was rushed to the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) where they were treated for minor injuries

The plane crashed in the corridor between St. Martin and St. Barths.


Story and comments/reaction:    http://www.sxmislandtime.com


Plane crash near Sint Maarten

PHILLIPSBURG, St. Maarten – A Piper Aztec twin engine aircraft crashed on Monday afternoon two and a half miles out of Guana Bay.

At approximately five (5pm) we got news that the aircraft with three American Nationals on board had gone down. The aircraft which originated from St. Barths had just departed Grand Case and was en route to St. Barths when it crashed for unknown reasons. Apparently both engines of the aircraft died on the pilot before he ditched. This is usually a sign of fuel contamination, however the cause of the crash has not yet been determined.

The three passengers on board of the aircraft are alive and were rescued and brought to shore in St. Maarten. The passengers were initially rescued by the Voyager vessel and brought to shore by the St. Maarten Sea Rescue and was rushed to the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) where they were treated for minor injuries.. The plane crashed in the corridor between St. Martin and St. Barths.


Source:   http://www.curacaochronicle.com


Piper Aztec Plane Ditched into Sea after Both Engines Failed --- All three passengers saved by Sea Rescue.

PHILIPSBURG:--- An Piper Aztec aircraft ditched into the sea about one and half miles east of Guana Bay on Monday afternoon when both of its engine failed. 

St. Maarten Sea Rescue responded to the scene minutes after the incident and managed to rescue all three persons that were on board the aircraft.

SMN News understands that the aircraft left St. Barths and was on its way to Grand Case Airport when the pilot realized both engines on the aircraft had failed. A member of the St. Maarten Sea Rescue said the pilot then decided to ditch into the sea to avoid a serious crash. In doing so, he managed to save the lives of all three persons on board. 


No official information from the police has been released up to the time this article is published.

Story and comments/reaction:  http://www.smn-news.com

Simpson Laurence Ray amphibious trike, N440LS: Accident occurred January 25, 2014 in Chehalis, Washington

http://registry.faa.gov/N440LS

NTSB Identification: WPR14LA104
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 25, 2014 in Chehalis, WA
Aircraft: SIMPSON LAURENCE RAY AMPHIBEOUS TRIKE, registration: N440LS
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 25, 2014, about 1515 Pacific standard time, an experimental Simpson Amphibeous Trike, N440LS, made a forced landing and came to rest on its side at the Chehalis-Centralia Airport (CLS), Chehalis, Washington. The pilot/owner operated the trike under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as a personal flight. The trike sustained structural damage to the left wing. The pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that was departing at the time and no flight plan had been filed. The flight was destined for the Toledo State Airport (5S4), Toledo, Oregon.

In an interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge, the pilot reported that as soon as the trike lifted off the runway, it began to pull hard to the left. He looked to his left and saw the left wing flapping. He radioed that he was having a problem and flew a modified pattern to land. As the pilot turned the trike onto the final leg for landing, the trike began to oscillate in the air. As soon as it touched down, the left wing "grabbed" and the trike flipped over, coming to rest on its left side. The pilot stated that a police officer located the left wing spring assembly broken on the runway.


 A 70-year-old Oregon man sustained minor injuries after his ultralight airplane made a crash landing at the Chehalis-Centralia Airport Saturday afternoon. 

The pilot told responding police that prior to takeoff everything on his plane was in good working order.

Source:   http://www.chronline.com

Previous accident:
NTSB Identification: SEA08LA207
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, September 23, 2008 in Lake Chelan, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/12/2009
Aircraft: Simpson Amphibious Trike, registration: N440LS
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot had transported the float-equipped weight-shift amateur-built airplane to the training facility for assistance in having it certified, as well as to receive flight instruction in the airplane. When the flight instructor informed the pilot that his flight training would be postponed for about two weeks, the pilot agreed to wait. The flight instructor cautioned the pilot not to attempt to fly the airplane until he had received adequate training, to which the pilot agreed. Subsequently, the pilot elected to fly the airplane without having received any flight instruction. During the takeoff, witnesses reported observing the airplane climb rapidly, followed by a left wing low, steep nose down attitude prior to impacting the ground with its left wing, consistent with a stall/spin. According to the flight instructor, the airplane's 19-meter wing, known for its lifting capacity, most probably caused the inexperienced pilot to think that he was airborne, when the airplane was only light on its wheels, resulting in the pilot pushing out on the control bar thinking he would climb out. However, not having enough airspeed to sustain flight, the wing stalled. No pre-impact anomalies were reported with the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed during the initial climb, which resulted in an inadvertent aerodynamic stall. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's lack of experience in the float-equipped, weight-shift airplane.

Pilots demand to know why helicopters fall from sky

Leaders of Britain’s offshore and pilots’ unions yesterday called for a judicial review to discover why “helicopters keep falling out of the sky” in the UK sector of the North Sea.

MPs on Westminster’s powerful transport select committee heard concerns about the safety of offshore flights in Britain’s oil and gas industry had heightened as a result of the Super Puma crash off Shetland last August in which four oil workers were killed – the fifth incident involving helicopters in the British sector in four years.

Captain Colin Milne, of the helicopter affairs committee of pilots’ union Balpa, warned the decision to make the European Aviation Safety Agency the “overarching authority” for aviation safety in Europe could lead to a reduction in Britain’s “gold standard” approach to helicopter operations in the North Sea.

The members of the select committee traveled to Aberdeen yesterday to visit helicopter firm bases in the city and take evidence at Aberdeen University from union representatives, helicopter operators and manufacturers, and representatives of Oil and Gas UK.

John Taylor, regional industrial organizer of Unite, claimed helicopter companies were facing commercial pressures in running their offshore crew change flight operations.

He told the MPs: “I believe that commercial pressure is operating in the industry. There are operators from outwith the UK that are coming into the industry and they don’t have the same structures that we have.”

He added: “The fact of the matter is that helicopters keep falling out of the sky and crashing in the UK sector. The fact of the matter is that the offshore workforce wish to find out why that is happening.”

Earlier Capt Milne pressed the case for a judicial review into offshore helicopter safety to examine the amount of control exercised by oil companies on helicopter flights and the role of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in policing offshore safety in the aviation sector.

He told MPs: “What pilots want is that they operate at a high minimum level and that can only be enforced by the CAA as the regulator. We want an independent and strong and well-resourced regulator.”

Mike Imlach, managing director of Bristow Helicopters, told MPs: “I can honestly say we have never been under commercial pressure where we have felt it is unsafe to continue a flight. If I don’t have the full parameters of safety and crews on the aircraft we will not fly, irrespective of the commercial pressure we may receive from a client.”

Committee chair Louise Ellman MP said after the hearing: “Five serious accidents in four years is a matter of grave concern. We want to find out how to improve that record.”

Story and comments/reaction:   http://www.scotsman.com

SEE ALSO
Safety briefing review call for helicopter flights

Supermarine Spitfire Mk XXVI (replica), VH-VSF: Accident occurred March 17, 2013 near Parafield Airport, SA

Pilot error contributed to the fatal crash of a homemade replica Spitfire at an Adelaide air show in March last year, an investigation has found.
 
Veteran flier Roger Stokes, 73, was killed when his kit-built plane crashed close to homes at Salisbury during a demonstration flight above nearby Parafield Airport.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has completed its investigation into the crash, finding the plane stalled before nosediving into the ground.

The bureau found Mr Stokes allowed the airspeed to drop during a final turn after coordinating a landing clearance with air traffic control.

"During the last pass of the replica Spitfire display, the pilot purposely slowed the aircraft, extended some wing flap, and lowered the landing gear as part of the demonstration," the report found.

"This altered the aerodynamics relative to the previous passes in that the lower airspeed resulted in less airflow over the wings and consequently less lift."

The bureau found the aircraft was prone to aerodynamically stalling and it was not fitted with a stall warning device.

It suggested Mr Stokes' "stress level was higher than usual and this might have adversely affected his management of the non-routine circuit."

The ATSB recommended pilots make sure they are aware of the added demands of air displays, which are different to normal flights.

"Pilots who participate in air displays should consider the demands involved and to the extent possible ensure that the complete sequence, including landing, is planned and rehearsed," the report found.

About an hour before taking off, Mr Stokes had visited the control tower to get information on wind conditions.

He told air controllers he was aware of turbulence and "expressed concern about the crosswind for take-off and landing but advised air display personnel that he was happy to proceed with the flight as scheduled."

Mr Stokes completed seven flyovers in about as many minutes before turning to land.

Several witnesses later reported that the plane was flying unusually slow at that point and then dived out of sight.

The wreckage was found in a factory car park about 1.5 kilometres north of the airfield and the investigation found "no evidence of in-flight structural failure" or "pre-impact damage."

The ATSB said although amateur built aircraft in the experimental category are not required to have stall warning devices, pilots should consider them as a last line of defence.

It warned the "loss of control accident rate for amateur-built aircraft was over four times higher" than factory-built planes and serious injury was three times more likely in amateur-built aircraft.

Story and photos:   http://www.abc.net.au



Roger Stokes, 73, was flying a replica World War II fighter plane he had built himself. 


http://www.atsb.gov.au 

What happened 

On 17 March 2013, the owner-pilot of an amateur-built scale-replica Spitfire aircraft (VH-VSF) was participating in an air display at Parafield Airport, South Australia. The pilot performed a number of airborne passes above the runways in various directions and completed the display with a slow speed pass at 400 ft with the landing gear and some wing flap extended.

Towards the end of this pass the pilot radioed the tower to coordinate a landing and accepted runway 21 Left with an 11 kt crosswind. By now the pilot had turned right and the Spitfire was near the extended runway centreline and 1 km from the runway threshold at a slow speed. A left turn was then observed and, soon after, a wing dropped and the aircraft entered a steep descent. The aircraft crashed in a factory car park, fatally injuring the pilot and substantially damaging the aircraft.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that while coordinating a landing clearance with air traffic control and flying a low level circuit with a close downwind and base in turbulent conditions, the pilot inadvertently allowed the airspeed to decay. In the subsequent turn (downwind) to adjust the circuit the aircraft aerodynamically stalled, descended steeply, and impacted the ground.

The aircraft was prone to aerodynamically stall with little or no aerodynamic precursors and it was not fitted with a stall warning device, increasing the risk of inadvertent stall.

Safety message

Flying in an air display is different to normal operations and places additional demands on a pilot. Pilots who participate in air displays should consider the demands involved and to the extent possible ensure that the complete sequence, including landing, is planned and rehearsed.

Although amateur-built aircraft operated in the experimental category are not required to be fitted with a stall warning device (preferably with aural output), owner-pilots should consider the benefits of such devices as a last line of defence against stalling.


http://www.atsb.gov.au

 The wreckage of a replica Spitfire that crashed, killing pilot Roger Stokes.

Lake Goodwin, Snohomish County, Washington

AIRCRAFT, REGISTRATION UNKNOWN, MAKE AND MODEL UNKNOWN, CRASHED INTO LAKE GOODWIN, UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE 2 PERSONS ON BOARD WERE RESCUED BY A BOAT, NEAR SNOHOMISH, WA

http://www.asias.faa.gov 

Two unhurt in Lake Goodwin plane crash 

LAKE GOODWIN — Two people on board a small plane that crashed into the water in Lake Goodwin on Sunday escaped without injury, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

The accident was reported at 4:21 p.m., said Lt. R.C. Rochon of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. Both people were in the water for a short time before they were picked up by a nearby resident in a boat and taken to shore, he said. The pilot was a 51-year-old Seattle man, Rochon said. No information was released about the passenger.

Both were checked by medics from the Marysville Fire Department and found to be shaken up, wet and cold but unhurt.

The plane was a 2007 Searey, Rochon said.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Marine Services Unit is working with state and federal agencies to investigate the cause of the accident and determine if there was any environmental damage, Rochon said.

Story and comments/reaction:   http://www.heraldnet.com

Kingman, Mohave County, Arizona


KINGMAN, AZ (CBS5) -

Federal aviation authorities said a pilot escaped without injury after his single engine aircraft ran out of runway in Wikieup and crashed Sunday morning in Mohave County.

The pilot, James Logsdon, 59, of Lake Havasu City, was the only person aboard and got out just before the plane caught fire.

The 1948 Cessna 170 fixed wing plane crashed around 10:45 a.m. when the plane's tail flipped forward and crashed in a pasture about area eight miles west of Highway 93 and Signal Road.

Logsdon told authorities he left Lake Havasu City about 9 a.m. and successfully reached his destination in Wikieup. The accident happened when he attempted to take off, the Mohave County Sheriff's office said.

The FAA and NTSB were notified and are conducting an investigation.

Source:    http://www.kpho.com

 (Source: Mohave County Sheriff's Office)


 (Source: Mohave County Sheriff's Office)


 (Source: Mohave County Sheriff's Office)


 (Source: Mohave County Sheriff's Office)

New film highlights plights of families of Dubai-Mangalore air crash victims



DUBAI // A Dubai family’s struggles to cope after the Mangalore air crash that killed 158 people four years ago is to be the subject of a new film.

Air India Express Flight 812 overshot the runway at Mangalore Airport on May 22, 2010, while trying to land. Only eight passengers survived.


UAE residents were among the victims.

The film will tell the story of an expatriate family living in Dubai, their struggles to cope with the loss of loved ones and their fight for compensation, its Indian director said.

“It is about the problems faced by the family here and at home in India,” said Shaheer Ummer, who is in Dubai to prepare for filming.

“The objective of the film is to highlight the tragedy, and the mental and financial impact it still has on people who lost their family members, and open the eyes of the [Indian] government so it will take steps to prevent this from happening again.

“It will also show the problems faced by expatriates here and in India.”

Ummer, who was working as a manager with a cosmetics company in Sharjah when the crash happened, has spent the past two years researching the crash, interviewing survivors and families of the victims in Dubai and India.

“Most of them are still stuck in the same mental state as they were four years ago,” he said. “Many had to visit government departments several times to get even a death certificate.

“Everyone is still struggling to get their rightful compensation and it is very sad.”

Compensation payments have been a contentious issue for family members. Air India paid 1.15 billion rupees (Dh66.9 million) in compensation in 2012, but the case is still being heard by India’s supreme court.

Some families of those who died were sceptical that the movie would help their cause.
“What is the use of the film?” asked Abdul Salam, 48, a fisherman from Kerala who lost his 24-year-old son in the accident.

“Will we benefit from such a film? Families like us are struggling to cope and make ends meet. Our lives have changed drastically because of this accident.

“The case has been escalated to the supreme court and I’ve gone for two hearings and waited patiently for my turn, but it didn’t take place. I am spending so much money on travelling to Delhi each time.”

Mr Salam was the first to file a compensation case against the carrier after the death of his son, who was working as a salesman in Dubai.

“I will see the film and even meet the director, if necessary,” he said. “But will it bring back my son or help us?”

Abdul Rahman, a Dubai resident who lost his wife and eight-year-old son in the crash, welcomed the film.

“If the film benefits the victims’ families, it is well and good,” he said.

The Malayalam movie, titled Ini Mazhayulla Nattilekku (Now to a Rainy Country), is being filmed in Dubai, Mangalore and Kerala.

Shooting is expected to commence in the next three months and be completed in 45 days. It is being produced by Golden Seven, based in the UAE.

Ummer hopes the film will be released in the UAE and India by the end of the year.
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae
  

 
Captain Zlatko Glusica and grandson




Flight attendant Sujata Survasi


 
 Flight Attendant Tejal Kamulkar 


NTSB Identification: DCA10RA063 
 Accident occurred Saturday, May 22, 2010 in Manglaore, India
Aircraft: BOEING 737, registration:
Injuries: 158 Fatal,7 Serious,1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On May 22, 2010 at about 6:10 am local time (0040 UTC), Air India Express flight 812 (VT-AXV), a Boeing 737-800 equipped with CFM56 engines, overran the runway into a valley during landing at the Mangalore International Airport, Mangalore, India. Of the 166 passengers and crew on board, there were 158 fatalities and 8 survivors. The airplane was substantially consumed by post-crash fire. The flight originated in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The investigation will be conducted by the Indian Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), and the NTSB has designated a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the DGCA as the State of design and manufacture.

All inquiries should be directed to:

Office of the Director General of Civil Aviation
DGCA Complex
Opposite Safdarjung Airport
New Delhi 110003
India
E-mail: das@dgca.nic.in







Bell 206L-3 LongRanger III, N207DS, DBS Helicopters: Fatal accident occurred January 27, 2014 in Silt, Colorado

http://registry.faa.gov/N207DS

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA122 
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Monday, January 27, 2014 in Silt, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/08/2015
Aircraft: BELL 206L 3, registration: N207DS
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The purpose of the flight was to perform low-level aerial surveillance of power transmission lines using an external gimbal-mounted infrared camera to detect problems with the patrolled power lines. While patrolling above a power line that passed through a valley, the helicopter struck another power line that crossed perpendicular to the helicopter’s flightpath and was at a higher elevation than the patrolled power line and ran from poles mounted atop higher terrain. The struck power line was not marked with high-visibility balls nor was it required to be. The sun was directly in front of the helicopter and 30 degrees above the horizon at the time of the accident, which likely made it difficult for the pilot to see the crossing wire. Postaccident examination of the helicopter did not reveal any preimpact anomalies. Given that this was a low-level surveillance flight of power transmission lines, the pilot should have familiarized himself with the power lines he was going to patrol and any other wires or obstructions in the area before the flight. It is likely that he did not adequately plan for the flight and that, if he had, he might have been aware of the power line and been able to avoid it.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s inadequate preflight planning for a low-level aerial surveillance flight of power transmission lines, which led to his being unaware of the crossing power line while flying toward the sun and his subsequent failure to maintain sufficient clearance from the wire.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On January 27, 2014, about 1118 mountain standard time, a Bell model 206L-3 helicopter, N207DS, was destroyed when it impacted a wire and terrain near Silt, Colorado. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The aircraft was registered to and operated by Delta Bravo Sierra Inc. under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an on-demand air taxi flight. The helicopter was performing aerial surveillance of power transmission lines when the accident occurred. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not on a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Garfield County Regional Airport (RIL), Rifle, Colorado, about 1045.

The operator was contracted by Holy Cross Energy, a local power utility, to perform aerial surveillance of power transmission wires using an infrared camera to detect potential problem areas on the wires. The occupants of the helicopter consisted of the pilot, an employee of Holy Cross Energy, and an employee of HOT/SHOT Infrared Inspections, Inc. It was reported that the helicopter had completed one surveillance flight earlier in the day and landed at RIL where it was refueled before departing on the accident flight. The accident occurred about 3 miles east of RIL. The power lines that were being patrolled by the helicopter at the time of the accident ran through a valley in a predominately north-south direction. Another set of power lines owned by Xcel Energy ran in a predominately east-west direction and crossed above the Holy Cross Energy power lines. Two parallel static wires ran from the top of each Xcel Energy tower to the next tower. The Excel Energy towers were located atop higher terrain, and the Holy Cross Energy power lines ran through the valley between the Xcel Energy towers. The helicopter struck the south static wire of the Xcel Energy power lines and subsequently impacted the ground. A witness reported seeing the helicopter heading south just prior to the accident. The Xcel Energy power lines were estimated to be about 170 feet above the floor of the valley where the accident occurred.

According to a representative of HOT/SHOT Infrared Inspections, Inc., the contract with Holy Cross Energy required video recording of the entire flight. During examination of the wreckage, two recording devices were found and retained for further examination. One of the recording devices had a secure digital (SD) memory card installed. The SD card slot of the other recording device was empty. A second SD card was not located during the wreckage examination.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION
The pilot held a pilot certificate with a commercial pilot rating for helicopters and private pilot ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. He also held a second class medical certificate issued on April 18, 2013. The pilot reported a total of 8010 total flight hours at the time of his most recent medical examination.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION
The helicopter was a Bell model 206L-3 helicopter, serial number 51546, manufactured in 1991. The helicopter had a single main rotor with a tail mounted anti-torque rotor. The helicopter was configured to carry six occupants, including the flight crew. The helicopter was powered by a single Rolls-Royce (Allison) Model 250-C30S engine, serial number CAE890513S, rated to produce 435 maximum shaft horsepower.

A review of the maintenance records indicated that the helicopter had accumulated 5,129.7 hours total time as of the date of the last inspection on January 23, 2014. The engine had accumulated 12,463.6 hours total time as of the same date. The records showed that the engine had been installed on the helicopter on September 22, 2010.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION
Weather conditions recorded by the RIL Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS), located about 3 miles west of the accident site, at 1053, were: wind calm, visibility 10 statute miles, scattered clouds at 11,000 feet agl, temperature -2 degrees Celsius, dew point -9 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 30.02 inches of mercury.

FLIGHT RECORDERS
The helicopter was equipped with an external gimbal mounted infrared camera (IR). Additionally, two digital video recorders were located within the wreckage along with a GeoStamp+ device. The GeoStamp+ was used to overlay video footage from the IR camera with information such as GPS location and time. The two DVR's each had a slot for insertion of a secure digital (SD) memory card. One of the DVR's contained a SD card and the other did not. The DVR's, SD card, and Geostamp+ device, were retained for further examination. Examination of the components revealed that the only recordable media present was the SD card, which contained three files. Two of the files were not pertinent to the accident flight. The third file contained video footage of the accident flight along with audio from the radio communications and the helicopter's intercom system.

The recording of the accident flight began when the helicopter was already airborne. Voices of the helicopter's occupants could be heard throughout the flight. For the majority of the flight, the helicopter followed a series of power lines through various terrain. Throughout the flight, casual and professional conversation was audible between the two passengers.

At 11:15:20 (hh:mm:ss), the crew members discussed turning right to follow a perpendicular set of power lines and return later to capture a previous data point. The helicopter turned right and the crewmembers carried out casual conversation for the remainder of the flight.

At 11:16:21, a pair of deer came into the view of the IR camera. During this time, one of the occupants remarked "See the deer?" and another occupant responded "where?". A follow-up remark was heard: "See the white things on the screen", followed ultimately by an acknowledgement.

At 11:16:29, intersecting power lines came into view of the IR camera. Immediately after the power lines passed, the video began to shale, with expletives heard in the background. The camera shaking intensified and discordant audio was audible until the recording ended at 11:16:36.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The helicopter's wreckage was located in a valley between hills. There was scattered snow cover on the terrain. There were two sets of crossing power lines in the area of the accident site. One set of power lines ran predominately north-south on single wooden poles. The second set of power lines ran predominately east-west and were suspended on dual support pole structures. There were two static lines at the top of each pole and the power transmission lines ran below the static lines. The east-west power lines were higher than the set that ran north-south. It was reported that the south static line of the east-west running lines was severed. The helicopter was reported to have been conducting power line patrol operations on the lower north-south running set of power lines.

The helicopter came to rest on its left side facing west. The main fuselage structure exhibited crushing in an upward/right direction that was consistent with an impact on the left bottom of the fuselage. The tail boom was separated from the fuselage. The tail boom was broken into two pieces. The forward portion of the tail boom to include the horizontal stabilizer was located about 150 feet from the main wreckage. The aft portion of the tail boom including the tail rotor gearbox and tail rotor was located near the main wreckage. The landing gear skid tubes were separated from the cross tubes. The left skid tube was broken approximately where the forward cross tube attached. The cross tubes were broken loose from their mounts to the fuselage with the forward cross tube completely separated. The rear cross tube remained within the fuselage penetration for the tube, but was not attached. Both main rotor blades were separated from their roots. The root section of each blade remained attached to the blade grips which remained attached to the hub. The hub remained attached to the mast which was still connected to the main rotor gearbox. Various aircraft components were found around the area of the accident site.

The wreckage of the helicopter was moved to an indoor facility for further examination. Examination of the helicopter's control system was conducted. The collective controls were predominately intact from the collective stick to the point of attachment at the hydraulic actuator on top of the fuselage. The anti-torque pedals on the right side were separated from the pushrod. The pushrod system was intact to the bellcrank at the bottom of the vertical pushrod tunnel. The vertical pushrod within the vertical pushrod tunnel was separated from the rod end at the bottom. The pushrod system through the tunnel at the top of the fuselage was not examined due to crush damage that prevented exposure of the area. The pushrod that ran from the bellcrank just aft of the rear cabin bulkhead was still attached to a portion of the bellcrank. The bellcrank arm was broken. The aft end of this pushrod was still attached to the next bellcrank at the bottom. The upper part of the bellcrank was still attached to the pushrod that ran through the tailboom but the pushrod was broken into several pieces. One break coincided with the forward separation point of the tailboom. The pieces of the pushrod were matched and a section of the pushrod was found to be missing during the wreckage review. The missing portion was approximately 2 feet in length and is presumed to have remained at the wreckage site, possibly obscured by snow. The aft rod end of the pushrod was fractured. The threaded portion remained in the pushrod while the spherical rod end portion remained attached to the bellcrank on the tail rotor gearbox. The tail rotor gearbox was separated from the tail boom. The tail rotor would turn when rotating the input shaft of the tail rotor gearbox. Actuation of the bellcrank confirmed actuation of the pitch angle of the tail rotor blades. The cyclic system was examined and the yoke that connects the right and left cyclic sticks to the mixer at the bottom of the vertical pushrod tunnel was fractured into 3 pieces. The yoke remained attached to the mixer and the right cyclic. The fractures were in the arm of the yoke connecting the left cyclic. The two vertical cyclic pushrods within the broom closet remained attached at both the mixer and the connection above the fuselage near the hydraulic actuator. All of the various control linkages on top of the fuselage remained attached and intact up to the swash plate. The ears where the pitch change links to the main rotor blades attached had broken loose from the rotating portion of the swash plate. The upper portion of one pitch change link pushrod remained attached to the bellcrank on the blade grip. The lower portion of this link along with the broken ear from the swash plate was found on top of the fuselage. The upper rod end and pushrod barrel for the other pitch change link remained attached to the bellcrank on the blade grip. The remainder of this pitch change pushrod was not found.

No anomalies were found with respect to the flight control system that could be attributed to a pre-impact condition.

The tail rotor driveshaft components were located and laid out on the shop floor. All of the bearing mounts had been separated from the tailboom with the exception of the most aft hanger bearing. Five sections of the tail rotor driveshaft were recovered. One section was not located during the exam and is presumed to have remained at the accident site.
Examination of the rotor mast revealed a spiral scrape through the paint that started just above the swash plate and progressed upward toward the blade hub. The lower fixed portion of the swash plate assembly was fractured. The main rotor blades rotated when rotation of the input coupling was performed.

No anomalies were found with respect to the drive system components that could be attributed to a pre-impact condition.

The engine was removed from the helicopter for further examination. Both the compressor and power turbine could be rotated by hand with no binding or scraping detected. The compressor and turbine blades that were visible showed no abnormalities. The N2 drive train was free and continuous from the 4th stage power turbine wheel to the N2 tachometer generator gearbox. The N1 drive train was continuous from the compressor to the N1 tachometer generator gearbox. The power turbine governor sustained impact damage. The upper and lower chip detectors were clean when removed. No fuel was found in the inlet line on the fuel control. The fuel line between the check valve and the fuel nozzle contained a small amount of fuel.

No anomalies were found with respect to the engine or its systems that could be attributed to a pre-impact condition.

The forward fuselage, upper and lower wire strike cutters, and the center spine of the windshield showed no evidence of a wire impact.

The tail rotor driveshaft cover had marks consistent with a main rotor blade impact.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
A postmortem autopsy of the pilot was performed by Rocky Mountain Forensic Services, PLLC. The autopsy report indicated the cause of death as multiple injuries consistent with the reported circumstances.

Toxicology testing was performed by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute. Testing results were negative for all substances in the screening profile.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
The power lines that were struck were not marked with high-visibility marking balls. Federal regulations establish standards for determining obstructions to air navigation. 14 CFR 77.23 states, in part:

(a) An existing object, including a mobile object, is, and a future object would be, an obstruction to air navigation if it is of greater height than any of the following heights or surfaces:
(1) A height of 500 feet above ground level at the site of the object.
(2) A height that is 200 feet above ground level or above the established airport elevation, whichever is higher, within 3 nautical miles of the established reference point of an airport, excluding heliports, with its longest runway more than 3,200 feet in actual length, and that height increases in the proportion of 100 feet for each additional nautical mile of distance from the airport up to a maximum of 500 feet.

The accident occurred about 3.2 nautical miles from RIL, which had a runway measuring 7,000 feet in length.The airport elevation was 5,537 feet, and the elevation at the accident site was about 5,525 feet. The wires that were struck were about 170 feet above the accident site elevation.

At the time of the accident the sun was about 30 degrees above the horizon at an azimuth of 162 degrees. The flight path of the helicopter at the time of the accident was about 165 degrees, placing the sun directly in front of the helicopter.

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA122
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Monday, January 27, 2014 in Silt, CO
Aircraft: BELL 206L 3, registration: N207DS
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 27, 2014, about 1118 mountain standard time, a Bell model 206L-3 helicopter, N207DS, was destroyed when it impacted a wire and terrain near Silt, Colorado. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The aircraft was registered to and operated by Delta Bravo Sierra Inc. under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an on-demand air taxi flight. The helicopter was performing aerial surveillance of power tansmission lines when the accident occurred. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not on a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Garfield County Regional Airport (RIL), Rifle, Colorado about 1045.

The operator was contracted by Holy Cross Energy, a local power utility, to perform aerial surveillance of power transmission wires using an infrared camera to detect potential problem areas on the wires. The occupants of the helicopter consisted of the pilot, an employee of Holy Cross Energy, and an employee of HOT/SHOT Infrared Inspections, Inc. It was reported that the helicopter had completed one surveillance flight earlier in the day and landed at RIL where it was refueled before departing on the accident flight. The accident occurred about 3 miles east of RIL. The power lines that were being surveilled by the helicopter at the time of the accident ran in a predominately north-south direction. Another set of power lines owned by Xcel Energy ran in a predominately east-west direction and crossed above the Holy Cross Energy power lines. Two parallel static wires ran from the top of each Xcel Energy tower to the next tower. The helicopter struck the south static wire and subsequently impacted the ground. A witness reported seing the helicopter heading south just prior to the accident.

According to a representative of HOT/SHOT Infrared Inspections, Inc., the contract with Holy Cross Energy required video recording of the entire flight. During examination of the wreckage, two recording devices were found and retained for further examination. One of the recording devices had a secure digital (SD) memory card installed. The SD card slot of the other recording device was empty. A second SD card was not located during the wreckage examination. 



Larry Shaffer



Doug Sheffer 
DBS Helicopters


The two passengers who died when a helicopter crashed during a power line inspection south of Silt on Monday morning have been identified b y the Garfield County Coroner’s Office as Larry Shaffer, 51, of Rifle and Christopher Gaskill of Aurora, whose age has not been confirmed.

 The two men were killed along with pilot and Basalt resident Doug Sheffer of the Rifle-based company DBS Helicopters at about 11:20 a.m. Monday, when one of Sheffer’s helicopter blades apparently caught a power line and his aircraft crashed into a ravine.

All three men died at the scene of the crash, according to community relations deputy Walt Stowe of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office. An official at the Rifle Funeral Home said autopsies of the three men were ongoing on Tuesday afternoon.

Shaffer was a crew foreman and a lineman for Holy Cross Energy, whose lines the trio were inspecting when the crash occurred on Monday. He had worked for Holy Cross for 28 years, according to a press release issued by the company on Tuesday.

Shaffer’s work, according to the press release, consisted of everything from installing underground and above-ground power lines to servicing and maintaining lines and responding to power outages.

“ ... Larry was well respected by the members of his crew and best known for his infectious grin, welcoming smile and positive attitude,” reads the press release.
“He was down to earth with a work ethic unmatched by anyone. He was not afraid to get dirty … not afraid of work. It was hard to keep up with him,” said Daniel Nunn, a crew member and friend of Shaffer’s, in the release.

Shaffer is survived by his wife Jo, his children Dane, Cole and Stefanie, and two grandchildren (Dane’s children) Hannah and Blake. A fund to support his family has been established in Sheffer’s name at Alpine Bank, and donations can be submitted to any area branch.

Gaskill worked as a thermographer, or heat inspector, for the Ft. Collins based company Hot/Shot Infrared Inspections. At the time he was killed, he and Shaffer were inspecting lines between Dubuque and Glenwood Springs, looking for areas carrying excessive electrical current and generating heat.

The work was meant to improve the efficiency of Holy Cross transmission lines, and it involved flying with Shaffer about 30 feet above 50-foot-tall utility poles, according to a press release issued by Holy Cross energy last week. After finishing in Glenwood Springs on Monday evening, the trio had been due to proceed east toward the Crystal Valley and Aspen on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

A call to Hot/Shot Infrared Inspections seeking information about Gaskill’s background was not returned by press time.

Monday’s crash took place about 1.5 miles south of Silt, near the 1.6-mile marker of County Road 331, also known as Dry Hollow Road.

Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, although it remains unclear when preliminary results of the investigation will be released.


http://www.aspendailynews.com






 Pilot Doug Sheffer performs a preflight inspection of his helicopter before an afternoon charter flight in this 2007 file photo from a "Day in the Life" special section. The photo was submitted by Paul Rinker.





This view of the power line involved the fatal chopper crash on Monday is looking toward the southwest from above the crash site, which is out of sight in the ravine about two-thirds of the way up the photo below the power line.




 Emergency personnel respond to the site of a fatal helicopter crash on Monday on Dry Hollow Road south of Silt. Two men at the far lower left of the photo examine what appears to be a piece of sheet metal. The road was blocked about a mile from the site. All three people on board the helicopter died in the crash, according to authorities.




 Authorities with Garfield County Road and Bridge, the Sheriff's Office and the Colorado State Patrol man a roadblock about a mile north of Monday's fatal helicopter crash near Dry Hollow Road south of Silt. The road was closed for about five hours as the crash site was examined.




 SILT ­— Three people, including longtime local helicopter pilot Doug Sheffer, were killed Monday morning during a routine aerial inspection of power lines south of here when a helicopter snagged a line and crashed. 

 Authorities did not release the names of the other two people killed in the crash, although one reportedly worked for Holy Cross Energy.

All three of the people killed were on board the helicopter when it crashed, according to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Lou Vallario confirmed Monday afternoon upon returning from the crash scene that Sheffer, the owner and chief pilot for DBS Helicopters based out of the Rifle-Garfield County Airport, was among those killed.

“I’ve known Doug for a lot of years, since I first became sheriff,” Vallario said. “He was certainly a top-notch pilot and good friend, and was instrumental in a lot of search and rescue efforts.”

Sheffer often worked with the Sheriff’s Office, Garfield Search and Rescue, Mountain Rescue out of Aspen, and other agencies in a variety of operations, including searches for people lost or missing in the rugged mountains of central Colorado.

“Because of Doug we were able to rescue many people that we might not otherwise have been able to,” Vallario said. “He is definitely going to be missed.”

The BELL LongRanger helicopter belonging to Sheffer and DBS had been contracted by Holy Cross Energy for a three-day operation that started Monday to monitor and check for trouble spots along power lines within the Glenwood Springs-based utility’s service area.

According to Sheffer’s biography on the DBS website, he had 22 years of piloting experience and more than 8,000 hours in the air in mountain areas above 8,000 feet elevation.

Sheffer was also a founding parent at the private Waldorf School on Roaring Fork, which started in Aspen and is now located near Carbondale.

His daughter graduated from the school in 2002, said Karla Comey, faculty administrator at the Waldorf School, who was in touch with family members after the accident.

“He has been instrumental in supporting our school from the beginning,” Comey said. “We dearly love him, and send him on his way with much love and light for his transition. We hold him in the same regard as he did other people.”

Airplane pilot and friend Bruce Gordon of Aspen-based EcoFlight posted on Facebook upon learning of the tragedy:

“Doug was one of a kind, from being the very best of human beings, to being a wonderful husband and father, and exceptional friend and mentor in every kind of life skill.”

Added filmmaker Anson Fogel in another Facebook post, “…anyone who has filmed a lot in these mountains has ridden in his helicopter — he was a key part of the film business in Colorado.”

The crash happened at 11:18 a.m. Monday where the shared Holy Cross and Xcel Energy power lines cross Dry Hollow Road about 1.6 miles south of Silt, according to Garfield Sheriff’s spokesman Walt Stowe.

Deputies and other emergency officials were on the scene within five minutes, he said.

“There were citizens on site when the crash happened, and they were the first ones there,” Stowe said. He indicated that one of the people on the scene knew all three people aboard the helicopter.

Throughout the early afternoon, most vehicles were turned back at a roadblock about a mile north of the crash site on Dry Hollow Road (CR 331). Holy Cross trucks and a pickup from DBS Helicopters were allowed through.

At one point, a man who had identified himself at the checkpoint as being from Holy Cross hugged two other men for a few moments before they got into vehicles and drove toward the crash site.

The site where the crash occurred is in steep, hilly, snow-covered terrain. The power line at the site spans a broad, deep ravine where the road winds through a small canyon. The actual crash site, which was not visible from other roads in the area or the roadblock, was down a steep embankment along the road.

The county road was closed for several hours immediately after the crash, but was later reopened to traffic.

Site guarded

Numerous emergency vehicles and personnel from multiple agencies, including the Sheriff’s Office and Colorado River Fire Rescue, will remain in the vicinity helping to maintain security overnight.

National Transportation Safety Board and FAA officials were expected to arrive Tuesday to conduct their investigation, Vallario said.

The crash also caused power outages in the area, which workers from both Holy Cross and Xcel Energy were working to restore, he said.

The power line monitoring is part of an ongoing effort that was to continue through Wednesday to gauge the health of the Holy Cross grid and reduce outages, according to a press release sent out last week by Holy Cross Energy and DBS Helicopters.

DBS was working with HotShot Infrared Inspections of Fort Collins to survey 250 miles of transmission lines from the air. The team was using infrared photography to identify potential trouble spots on power lines and at substation facilities.

Sheffer and Holy Cross officials explained the power line inspection project in a news release sent out last week, so that the public would be aware of the operation.

Helicopters were to be flying about 30 feet above the transmission poles, which are approximately 50 feet tall, he said.

The helicopters were to be traveling anywhere from 25 to 40 miles per hour.

“Unless a problem area is located, a person on the ground will just see and hear a low-flying helicopter passing by,” according to the news release.

If a problem is encountered, the helicopter would circle back and hover for a few minutes to record the area with video, still shots and a GPS coordinate.

“It will then proceed along the line and away from that neighborhood,” according to the news release.

“Believe me, those two to three minutes will seem more like 10 minutes,” Sheffer commented in the release. “Our goal is to linger as little as possible at any one point during these three days.”

West Elk Mountain Rescue and Western State College mountain rescue team help Doug Sheffer, from DBS Helicopters, rescue an injured climber.

Something about helicopter pilots chasing bank robbers, busting spies and saving castaways impressed six-year-old Doug Sheffer. The Whirlybirds television episodes, over 50 years ago, were heroic and exciting and everything he seemed born to do. While his father tried to waylay those childish ambitions, it wasn’t too many decades before Sheffer had owned his own fleet of choppers, a crew of pilots and a backlog of dangerous jobs throughout western Colorado.

A few weeks ago, Sheffer, now owner and sole pilot of DBS Helicopters based out of Grand Junction, Colo., received a call from a Gunnison County sheriff about a hiker that had been found below Snowmass Peak in the West Elk Mountains of Western Colorado. Jeff Lodico, separated from his party, took a bad fall and spent the night out in the cold. When wilderness responders from West Elk Mountain Rescue and Western State Colorado mountain rescue team found him, he had broken all the fingers on one hand, his wrist, his arm, all of his ribs and a lower leg. He had a punctured lung and his skull was fractured. I couldn’t help but watch video of the rescue with awe.

Sheffer honed his helicopter skills after facing ridiculous environmental conditions generated by the West’s extreme geological formations. He took Helicopter Aircrew Training System courses in British Columbia from flight instructors who train Chinook and Blackhawk pilots for the most sophisticated military missions, including navigating unique wind currents along sheer mountainsides. He’d need all that training to rescue Lodico.

I spoke with Sheffer about the rescue and about his work last week. He doesn’t drink. He’s not crazy, and he speaks with a level of calculation and continuity I’ve only heard in aviators.

Read more here:  http://www.hcn.org/hcn/blogs/goat/flight-for-life  



Doug Sheffer, chief pilot and owner of DBS Helicopters, stands in front his helicopter at the Maroon Bells after assisting Mountain Rescue Aspen in the summer of 2012. Sheffer died on Monday after his helicopter crashed in Silt.


Doug Sheffer, well respected mountain rescue pilot, killed during powerline inspection 


A routine inspection of power lines maintained by Holy Cross Energy appears to have gone terribly wrong late Monday morning when the helicopter that inspectors were using crashed, killing everyone on board.

Doug Sheffer, the owner and chief pilot for DBS Helicopters of Rifle, was among the dead, according to friends and colleagues of his with close knowledge of the crash.

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office has not released the names of the other two people on board, although spokesman Walter Stowe said that they apparently died at the scene.

Sheffer was a well-known, well-respected helicopter pilot in the region, who frequently flew high country rescue missions with Mountain Rescue Aspen (MRA).

“We are shocked to hear the news,” said MRA director Jeff Edelson. “He was a very talented pilot, and we used him on many missions up on high peaks, performing dangerous rescues.

“Doug and the DBS team were a very important resource for us,” Edelson said. “My heart goes out to his friends and family.”

The crash apparently happened when the helicopter’s blade hooked a power line and was sent careening to the ground, according to Stowe.

First responders got a call from an eyewitness to the crash around 11:20 a.m. Monday, Stowe said. The crash took place about 1.5 miles south of Silt, near the 1.6 mile marker of Dry Hollow Road.

Stowe said that as of 2 p.m., emergency responders from the sheriff’s office and the Bureau of Land Management’s Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit were on the scene working to extricate the victims from the helicopter’s wreckage.

Holy Cross Energy had contracted with DBS Helicopters and HotShot Infrared Inspections of Ft. Collins to inspect 250 miles of its power lines between Dubuque and Aspen. The goal of the inspections was to search for so-called “hot spots,” or areas handling substantial electrical current and giving off heat that could pose a fire hazard in the summer months.

Stowe said there would likely be an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board or another federal agency into the crash, although he didn’t have details on which agency would perform the investigation.

County Road 331 is closed on either side of the crash site; traffic is being directed to alternate routes. It is expected that the road will remain closed for the next 12 to 48 hours until all site investigations are complete.

This story will be updated as information becomes available. 



Westport Native Dies in Colorado Helicopter Crash 



Doug Sheffer, Westport native, Staples High school graduate, and brother of well known Westport arts advocate Ann Sheffer, died today in a Colorado helicopter crash, according to friends and colleagues.
 

He was among three people confirmed dead in the crash, which apparently occurred when the helicopter snapped a power line and crashed about a mile south of Silt, Colo., authorities said

Sheffer was owner and chief pilot of DBS Helicopters of Rifle, Colo., and was a well-known and well-respected aviator in the region, news reports said. He frequently flew high country rescue missions with Mountain Rescue Aspen (MRA).

The helicopter was part of a fleet that began monitoring power lines in the area, according to a news release last week from the company.

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office has not released the names of the other two people on board, although spokesman Walter Stowe said that they apparently died at the scene.

“We are shocked to hear the news,” said MRA director Jeff Edelson. “He was a very talented pilot, and we used him on many missions up on high peaks, performing dangerous rescues.

“Doug and the DBS team were a very important resource for us,” Edelson said. “My heart goes out to his friends and family.”

Sheffer was a 1968 graduate of Staples High School and spent many years supervising sailing at the Longshore Sailing School.

According to his company’s website, he had 22 years and more than 8,000 hours of experience in the high-country, mountains above 8,000 feet.

“He has completed 10 BELL Helicopter Training Academy Initial and Refresher courses plus an Advanced Flying Skills course geared towards accident prevention,” his biography said.

“He also is a graduate of the Mountain Flying and Vertical Reference courses with Canadian Helicopter, the acknowledged leader in civilian mountain helicopter flight training, and he recently returned from Flight Safety International’s 206 Recurrent training course spending three days in a simulator practicing emergency procedures.”

Ann Sheffer, who also maintains a home in Palm Springs, Calif. with husband Bill Scheffler, was said by friends to be en route to Aspen from Palm Springs.

Source:   http://www.westportnow.com