Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Iranian who hacked Federal Aviation Administration sentenced

Iranian man gets 2 years in prison for fraudulent pilot’s license attempt 

An Iranian man who tried to get a U.S. pilot’s license for passenger jets by using a stolen identity will serve more than two years in prison, federal prosecutors announced Monday.

But Justice Department officials stressed that the investigation revealed no terrorism activity nor links between the Iranian man and terrorist groups.

According to court records, Nader Ali Sabouri Haghighi, 41, stole another pilot’s identity, then used it to try to obtain an Airline Transport Pilot certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration that would have allowed him to pilot commercial jets.

Haghighi also used a credit card he forged under the other pilot’s name to pay for all the fees associated with the certificate.

He’s been wanted since September 2012, when he crashed a plane in Denmark while in possession of a stolen pilot’s certificate. After facing charges in Denmark and Germany, prosecutors said Haghighi returned to Iran. He was spotted in Indonesia, and then in Panama, where he was arrested.

Story and comments: http://www.washingtontimes.com

A 41-year-old Iranian man who hacked a Federal Aviation Administration database to steal the personal information of a licensed pilot was sentenced March 9 to just over two years in prison for identity theft.

Nader Ali Sabouri Haghighi, 41, pleaded guilty last November to charges he stole personally identifying information from the FAA's online Airman Services Records System database, which is used by the agency to monitor and regulate persons authorized to fly aircraft.

The Justice Department said in a statement that he used stolen identity information to log into the system, then changed the victim's contact information and profile to his own information. He then requested a replacement Airline Transport Pilot certificate, the FAA's top pilot authorization, and a flight instructor certificate, using a fraudulent credit card to pay for both.

DOJ said it had no evidence he was involved in terrorism. According to the department, Haghighi was looking to fly multi-engine planes for profit.

While in possession of the stolen ATP certificate, in September 2012 Haghighi crashed an airplane in Bornholm, Denmark, where he then faced criminal charges, court records said. He was later arrested in Panama and extradited to the United States last August.

Original article can be found at: http://fcw.com

Frontier Airlines says it won't be returning to Sioux City

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Frontier Airlines has confirmed that it won't be resuming service at the Sioux City airport.

In October the company stopped its Denver service from Sioux Gateway Airport. In a statement Monday, Frontier said it had relied on connecting passengers flowing through Denver, but it now is focused on city-to-city service. The airline says Sioux City doesn't fit into that business strategy.

Sioux Gateway Airport Director Curt Miller said Tuesday that he wasn’t aware a formal decision had been made but talks with the airline indicated they would not be returning to Sioux City.

“They said at the time (in October) it was a seasonal change and they may consider again after the first of the year,” Miller said. “In my discussions with them, they indicated that probably wouldn’t happen.

“Their indication to me all along was that the business model has changed and they were going a different direction,” he added. 

Sioux Gateway's only carrier is American Airlines, which offers two daily flights to and from O'Hare in Chicago. Airport officials have said they're seeking other airlines to offer Sioux City service.

Source: http://siouxcityjournal.com

Aviation industry tax break bill heads to Nevada Senate

CARSON CITY — A bill designed to give lift to Nevada’s aviation industry cleared its first legislative pylon Tuesday with passage by a Senate committee.

Senate Bill 93 would provide partial sales and personal property tax abatements to companies that own, operate, manufacture, service, test or assemble aircraft or aircraft components.

The Senate Committee on Revenue and Economic Development amended and approved the bill, sending it to the Senate floor.

Steve Hill, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, stressed that tax breaks do not apply to buying an airplane.

Backers of the bill say Nevada will see almost immediate economic benefits because of an already present workforce, aviation companies and demand, especially in tourist-driven Las Vegas.

During a hearing last month, a transportation economist said Nevada is one of only five states in the continental United States and the only one in the West that does not offer aviation tax incentives.

Unlike surrounding states, Nevada charges full sales tax on aviation parts. Hill said that means aircraft owners — from business travelers to helicopter tour operators — more often than not fly their aircraft short distances to other states where they can buy parts and maintenance more cheaply.

The committee Tuesday also amended and approved Senate Bill 74, which would update tax abatements available to companies moving to or expanding in Nevada to reflect the state’s improving economy.

As Nevada’s unemployment rate improves, tax abatements would be limited or not available for companies that fail to pay above the state average wage, currently around $20.62 per hour.

Hill said the change fits with the state’s goal of trying to attract higher paying jobs.

Original article can be found at: http://www.reviewjournal.com

Peru Eyes Backing Bill To Resume Shooting Down Drug Planes

(Reuters) - The government of President Ollanta Humala said on Tuesday it might back a bill that would lift a 14-year-old ban on shooting down aircraft suspected of carrying drugs, even though the U.S. government opposes the practice.

The legislation should garner enough votes to pass Congress as early as this week. Passage threatens joint anti-narcotics efforts with the United States and possibly millions of dollars in aid.

The U.S. government prohibited funding linked to shoot-down activities abroad after a 2001 incident in which a Peruvian military jet mistakenly fired at a plane carrying missionaries, killing a U.S. woman and her baby.

Humala, a former military officer, has not yet revealed whether he will resume lethal aerial interdictions as he beefs up efforts to stop a growing number of planes from smuggling cocaine to neighboring Bolivia and Brazil.

"It's under evaluation," Interior Minister Jose Luis Perez told reporters on Tuesday, referring to the bill authored by opposition lawmaker Carlos Tubino.

The legislation would allow the military to shoot down unauthorized airplanes flying in Peru's airspace.

Late on Monday, the defense commission approved the measure 7-0, with four lawmakers from Humala's coalition voting in favor. Peru's single-chamber congress is scheduled to take the bill up in a plenary session this week.

It is unclear if the U.S. would cut any of the $73 million requested to fund counter-narcotics efforts in Peru this year if it passes.

The U.S. Embassy in Lima declined to comment on pending legislation.

But Perez said that last month, opposition to resuming a shoot-down policy came from U.S. officials during a visit from William Brownfield, U.S. assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs.

"There's a proposal from the U.S., logically, to guarantee the status quo, in which we cannot intercept planes that enter our airspace" Perez said. "They proposed alternatives like technological help."

Peru's former interception program, which ran from 1995 to 2001 with the help of the United States, helped shift the main smuggling route from the skies to the sea.

In recent years, traffickers have increasingly turned back to flying cocaine from Peru, now considered the world's top producer of the drug by both the U.S. and United Nations.

Between 150 and 180 tonnes of cocaine were flown from Peru using light aircraft in 2013, according to a U.S. estimate.

Peru declared a no-fly zone over a coca-producing region last month.

Source:  http://www.ibtimes.com

Hawaiian Airlines Keeps 1929 Plane Flying • Carrier’s Bellanca Pacemaker soars on free sightseeing trips for employees, special guests

Hawaiian Airlines’ Merle Clawson is one of several aviators who get to fly the carrier’s oldest plane, the Bellanca Pacemaker. 

The Wall Street Journal
March 10, 2015 7:47 p.m. ET

HONOLULU—Most airline pilots like to fly the biggest, newest planes. Hawaiian Airlines ’ Merle Clawson happily pilots the tiniest, oldest plane in its fleet: a single-engine, six-seat 1929 Bellanca Pacemaker that was the first aircraft operated by the carrier’s predecessor company 86 years ago.

Mr. Clawson is one of seven aviators, including Hawaiian Chief Executive Mark Dunkerley, who take aloft airline employees, their families and special guests in the Bellanca most weekends for free sightseeing trips over Diamond Head and other Oahu sights.

Honolulu-based Hawaiian operates 48 modern jetliners and has more on order. The Bellanca flies at about 100 knots, or 120 miles an hour, compared with a cruising speed of 470 knots for some of Hawaiian’s wide-body jetliners. But the Bellanca is an important way for employees to feel connected to the history of the carrier and its home state, a place unusually reliant on air travel, says Mr. Dunkerley.

Fliers “are so awed about this plane and its roots,” says Mr. Clawson, wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt one Saturday as he repaired the plane’s radio.

Many companies preserve artifacts of their history to help build workers’ esprit de corps, or to use in marketing. A number of them have built entire museums, including auto maker Volkswagen AG, chip maker Intel Corp., and farm-equipment maker Deere & Co., which has two. Delta Air Lines Inc. has a museum that includes a 1928 Waco 125 biplane like the model its Northwest Airlines merger partner used to carry mail, and a restored Delta Douglas DC-3 plane from 1940.

But few companies’ museum pieces actually fly. Hawaiian believes it is the only carrier of its era that still operates its first airplane.

“There are a number of airlines that sponsor and support their early vintage planes in museums,” says John Plueger, a private pilot and president of Air Lease Corp., an airplane leasing company. “But there are damned few, if any, that keep them flying. It’s one thing to go look at an old plane in a museum and another to strap yourself in and fly it,” which he says Mr. Dunkerley allowed him to do when they were up in the Bellanca.

The antique plane, painted bright red and made of steel tubing, linen and spruce, still has its original cockpit instruments, save for a digital fuel gauge. It taxis on custom-ordered 1925 Ford Model T pickup truck tires and is powered by a 400-horsepower Pratt & Whitney engine.

Mr. Dunkerley, an aerobatic pilot in his spare time, is a big fan. “It’s a very docile plane in the air,” he says. “On the ground, it’s a handful. It doesn’t handle crosswinds well and tends to want to weather vane.” A special Federal Aviation Administration rating is required of pilots who fly such so-called “tail wheel” planes.

Charles Lindbergh tried to buy a Bellanca for his famous trans-Atlantic flight, but couldn’t agree on the price. So he turned to another manufacturer. Two weeks later, a Bellanca flew nonstop from New York to Germany—300 miles farther.

Hawaiian’s reunion with its Bellanca almost didn’t happen. The plane was sold by its predecessor company, Inter-Island Airways, in 1933. It flew for three decades in Alaska and northern Canada, mounted on skis and floats. In 1963, taking off from a lake in British Columbia, the wingtip caught the water and the plane cartwheeled. While the occupants survived, the Bellanca was ruined.

A year later, a relative of the pilot trucked the wreckage to his home in Oregon. John Pike, an antique airplane restorer in Oregon City, Ore., paid $150 for the parts and spent 15 years restoring the aircraft, which became his family plane for two decades. When he realized it would need a major overhaul to fly safely, Mr. Pike called Hawaiian about a decade or so ago and offered it for sale. He says the airline wasn’t interested.

But in 2008, Hawaiian called back, looking to purchase the plane to celebrate its 80th anniversary a year later, Mr. Pike says. He sold it for $95,000 and Hawaiian hired an Arlington, Wash., aircraft restorer, Joe Pritchard, to get the Bellanca airborne. Given the tight deadline, he hired a variety of subcontractors.

Once the plane was proved airworthy, Mr. Pritchard says he disassembled it and shipped it to Honolulu by sea, where it was reassembled for the November 2009 celebration. For the event, a huge lei was wrapped around the fuselage, a priest blessed the plane, pilots dressed in 1929-era uniforms and the Hawaii governor spoke.

Erin Ito, who works in Hawaiian’s human resources department, says she waited years before her first Bellanca flight in November because she was so afraid. “The nerves went wild when we walked around the aircraft” that day, she says, “and we felt really tiny taking off amid all the jets.”

But the 30-minute trip was a thrill. “I’ve lived in Hawaii all my life, but I’ve never really seen it from that perspective,” she says. “They found it. It’s crazy. You just can’t believe it,” she says of the Bellanca. She plans to take her mom up next.

Story, comments and photo:    http://www.wsj.com

Cessna 182L Skylane, N42667: Accident occurred March 10, 2015 at Waycross-Ware County Airport (KAYS), Georgia

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;   Atlanta, Georgia 

NTSB Identification: ERA15CA152
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, March 10, 2015 in Waycross, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/11/2015
Aircraft: CESSNA 182L, registration: N42667
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the pilot, the runway he intended to depart from was parallel to the taxiway and parking ramp. He assumed that after making
two right turns he would be on the runway. He reported that he did not have any airport diagrams to navigate with, while operating on the airport movement area. Following his second right turn he noticed a runway sign, announced his intention to depart over the common traffic advisory frequency, taxied onto what he assumed was the runway, observed "faded yellow chevrons," and added power for takeoff. During the takeoff roll the pilot observed crossing the runway he assumed he was on, and the paved surface he was on was ending. He retarded the throttle and applied brakes. The airplane exited the paved surface and nosed over, coming to rest inverted; which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage, left wing, and vertical stabilizer. The pilot reported no mechanical abnormalities or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation. The airport diagram, and the pilot's own drawing of the accident event, revealed the need to make three right turns prior to being on the runway. According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, that traveled to the accident location, the runway was "clearly identifiable" and the markings were visible.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to use any airport guidance while taxiing, which resulted in geographic disorientation and a takeoff attempt from an inadequate length and unsuitable surface.

A passenger was slightly injured Tuesday when a single-engine plane flipped about 3 p.m. during an attempted takeoff at the Ware County Airport, Sheriff Randy Royal said.

Debashish Banerjee, 63, of Silva, N.C., had landed his Cessna 182L Skylane during a flight from Franklin, N.C., to Labelle, Fla., and refueled at the airport, Royal said. Confused about the airport's layout, Banerjee attempted to take off from a taxiway, which is shorter than the runway, Royal said.

"He had fully committed to takeoff when he realized he was running out of pavement. He tried to swerve the airplane onto a dirt surface,'' Royal said.

The plane traveled about 60 feet on the grass before its nose gear dug into the ground and the plane flipped onto its top, Royal said.

The passenger, Bob Genes, 83, also of Silva and also a pilot, suffered a small laceration on his forehead, but was treated by Ware County EMS at the scene and declined transport to the hospital, Royal said.

Banerjee was not injured, he said

There was no fuel leakage.

Ware County Deputy Paul Carter conducted the initial investigation, and the aircraft was secured in place awaiting Wednesday's arrival of the National Transportation Board for its investigation.

WARE COUNTY, Ga. — The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate after a plane flipped over after a failed takeoff at the Waycross-Ware County Airport on Tuesday afternoon.

The Ware County Sheriff's Office got a call at 3 p.m. about a Cessna 182L Skylane that overturned at the airport, according to Ware County Sheriff Randy Royal.

The preliminary investigation indicates that the pilot, 63-year-old Debasish Banerjee from Sylva, N.C., was attempting to take off from a taxiway he thought was a runway.

After Banerjee had fully committed to takeoff, he realized the taxiway was too short and he swerved into a dirt field, traveling about 60 feet before the nose gear dug into the ground, causing the plane to overturn.

There was one passenger on board, 83-year-old Bob Genes from Sylva, N.C., who suffered a small laceration on his forehead and was treated at the scene. Banerjee was not injured, Royal said.

The plane had just refueled and had 80 gallons of fuel on board. It was on its way from Franklin County, N.C. to LaBelle, Fla.

The area has been secured for the NTSB to conduct its investigation on Wednesday.

Bell 206L-4 LongRanger IV, N207MY, Westwind Helicopters; fatal accident occurred June 11, 2014 in South Tim Bailier Platform, Gulf of Mexico -Kathryn's Report

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA286 
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 11, 2014 in South Timbalier Platform, GM
Aircraft: BELL 206 L4, registration: N207MY
Injuries: 2 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.


On June 11, 2014, about 1430 central daylight time, a Bell 206 L4 helicopter, N207MY, impacted the waters in the Gulf of Mexico. The helicopter was registered to Coy Leasing, LLC, and operated by Westwind Helicopters, Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an on-demand air taxi. The commercial rated pilot and passenger were fatally injured and the helicopter was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and company flight following was in effect at the time of the accident. The flight departed Ship Shoal 266B oil platform at 1409, and was en route to the South Timbalier 317 (ST 317) platform.

A witness, who was located on the ST 317 oil platform reported that he heard the helicopter approach the platform. The helicopter was on a straight in approach to the platform, when the helicopter started to spin in a clockwise direction. The witness added they he heard a "snap" like something broke, and it looked like the baggage compartment door was open and debris was coming out of the baggage compartment during the spin. The helicopter spun 8-10 times, before the helicopter went silent and dropped to the water.

The helicopter sank and was recovered from about a depth of 380 feet of water. The tail boom had separated from the main fuselage and was recovered from the surface of the water. One of the main rotor blades, which had separated about four feet from the mast, was not recovered. Several sections of the helicopter were not recovered which included the landing skids, cabin door, and floor.


The pilot held a U.S. commercial pilot certificate with a rotorcraft-helicopter rating. The pilot held a second class medical certificate issued on November 13, 2013, with the restriction; "must wear corrective lenses". At the time of the exam, the pilot reported 13,500 hours total flight time with 260 hours in last six months. In addition, he held a Canadian private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single land, multi-engine land and helicopter.


The Bell 206 L4, is a two –bladed, single-engine, helicopter. The helicopter was powered by a Rolls-Royce (Allison) 250-C30P turbo shaft engine. The helicopter's last 100 hour inspection was on May 18, 2014, at an aircraft total time of 6,387 hrs. The engine had 19,736 hours total hours.

A review of maintenance records for the helicopter revealed a maintenance discrepancy was written as "no fwd cyclic", four days before the accident. The pilot who entered the write-up reported that he no forward and limited left cyclic. He also stated that the control felt more like a jam, rather than a hydraulic problem and that he didn't push too hard. Maintenance annotated in the records that the helicopter controls were checked and then flight checked, with no defects noted.


At 1450, the automated weather observation facility located at the Houma-Terrebonne Airport
Houma, Louisiana, about 92 miles north of the accident site recorded; wind from 360 degrees at 4 knots, 6 miles visibility in haze, scattered clouds 5,000 feet, temperature 93 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 70 F, and a barometric pressure of 29.91 inches of mercury.

The closest surrounding weather reporting locations were identified as oil platforms; Green Canyon 338 (KGRY), Mississippi Canyon (KMDJ), Ship Shoal 178 (KLSPR), and Green Canyon 78 (KATP).

At 1420, the automated weather observation facility located at KGRY, located about 26 miles south-southwest recorded: wind variable at 5 knots with gusts to 13 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky clear below 12,000 feet, temperature 30° Celsius (C), dew point 24° C, and an altimeter 29.92 inches of mercury (Hg).

At 1435, the automated weather observation facility located at KMDJ, located about 48 miles south-southwest recorded: wind 280 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky clear below 12,000 feet, temperature 29° C, dew point 22° C, and an altimeter 29.93 inches of mercury (Hg).

There were no convective SIGMETs for the accident area.

The closest Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF) to the accident site was issued for Houma-Terrebonne Airport (KHUM), Houma, Louisiana.

The forecast indicated a west-southwest wind at 7 knots, visibility unrestricted, and few clouds at 5,000 feet agl. No significant weather was expected surrounding the period.

The National Weather Service (NWS) Winds and Temperature Aloft Forecast (FD) valid during the accident time for New Orleans expected at 3,000 feet msl a wind from 250° at 11 knots.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Air Resource Laboratory (ARL) archive data of North American Mesoscale (NAM) numerical model data was obtained and a sounding plotted on a standard Skew-T log P diagram from the surface to 18,000 feet over the approximate accident site at 1300 CDT utilizing RAOB software. The sounding depicted a surface temperature of 28° C (82° F), with a dew point temperature of 23° C (74° F), and a relative humidity of 75%, with a density altitude of 1,835 feet.

The model surface wind was from 240° at 7 knots, with a slight veering clockwise with the wind with height to the west. The model wind at 400 and 1,000 feet was from approximately 240° at 8 knots, and did not indicate any low-level wind shears.

A complete Weather Study Report was prepared for this investigation; the Group Chairman's factual report is located in the docket for this accident.


The helicopter was equipped with a Sky Connect system. The system recorded the helicopter had flown 6 hours 26 minutes on June 11. The flight system recorded the helicopter's departure and flight en route to ST 317. Several positon points were recorded during the flight which indicated the helicopter was on a east-southeast heading. The helicopter's altitude and airspeed varied, but the altitude was generally above 550 feet agl, with an airspeed of about 115 knots. The last recorded position of the helicopter was at 1923:49 (greenwich mean time) on a heading of 121 degrees, at an altitude of 551 feet, and an airspeed of 111 knots; approximately 0.9 miles from ST 317.


South Timbalier 317 is an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, located about 67 miles off the coast of Louisiana, and about 100 miles south of Houma, Louisiana.


The wreckage was transported to the operator's facility located near Santa Fe, Texas. Examination of the wreckage was conducted by the NTSB, FAA, and technical representatives from the engine and airframe manufacturers. The helicopter was heavily damaged during the accident with extensive damage to the cabin. The engine and transmission remained attached to the fuselage. The cabin and cockpit of the helicopter was destroyed; the cabin floor was not with the fuselage, nor recovered with the wreckage. One of the two main rotor blades remained attached to the mast and the other blade had separated about 4 feet from the mast. The tailboom separated just aft of the fuselage, the tail rotor drive shaft had rotational scoring near the hangar bearings; the tail rotor gearbox remained with the tailboom and both tail rotor blades remained attached, and bent, towards the tailboom. The flight control connections were secure; however, the condition of the fuselage and separation of the tailboom, prevented movement of the tail rotor controls. The effect of salt water immersion was beginning, however, continuity and rotation of the transmission was established. Engine continuity to the accessory was established and the turbine and compressor sections were free to rotate.


The Jefferson Parish Forensic Center, Harvey, Louisiana conducted an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was determined to be, "multiple blunt force injuries".

Toxicological testing on the pilot was not conducted by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, because the specimens were ruined during shipment.

A review of the pilot's FAA medical records indicated that the pilot had not reported any chronic medical problems nor medications to the FAA. However, his autopsy identified a large area of myocardial scarring and fibrosis as well as the presence of a patent stent in the left anterior descending coronary artery; the other coronary arteries were too damaged to be assessed.

The Jefferson Parish coroner did conducted toxicological testing. The result was positive for 2,500 ng/mL of Tramadol.

Tramadol is a prescription medication used to treat moderate to severe pain.


The helicopter's hydraulic system, section of the main rotor blade, tail boom, and two sections of the tail rotor drive shaft were sent to the Bell Field Investigations Laboratory, in Hurst, Texas. An examination of the components was conducted under the supervision of the NTSB, FAA, and technical representatives of HR Woodard, Bell Helicopter, and the operator.

Examination of the fractures on the tail rotor drive section was consistent with overload as a result of extreme bending. The tailboom section had buckling damage of the left side; the section was absent of paint transfer from any object impact. Additionally, the paint cracks on the tailboom were consistent with buckling of the tailboom metal. The facture surface of the main rotor blade section was also inspected; the D channel spar was bent aft and downward and consistent with an overload failure.

The hydraulic system was removed from the helicopter's fuselage and examined at the lab. The pump and hydraulic actuators were separated from the system and tested on a hydraulic test stand. The hydraulic filters were partially restricted with fine particles. Despite impact damage to the pump and salt water immersion of the system, the hydraulic system functionally performed with no anomalies noted.

The three actuators were then sent to the manufacturer in Santa Clarita, California for additional examination. A disassembly examination was conducted under the supervision of the NTSB and a technical representative from Woodward HRT. Examination of the actuators did not reveal any abnormalities, nor evidence of any previous malfunction.


Excerpts from FAA Helicopter Handbook, FAA-H-8083-21A, Chapter 11 - Helicopter Emergencies and Hazards:

Loss of Tail Rotor Effectiveness (LTE) or an unanticipated yaw is defined as an uncommanded, rapid yaw towards the advancing blade which does not subside of its own accord. It can result in the loss of the aircraft if left unchecked. It is very important for pilots to understand that LTE is caused by an aerodynamic interaction between the main rotor and tail rotor and not caused from a mechanical failure. Some helicopter types are more likely to encounter LTE due to the normal certification thrust produced by having a tail rotor that, although meeting certification standards, is not always able to produce the additional thrust demanded by the pilot.

Unfortunately, the aerodynamic conditions that a helicopter is susceptible to are not explainable in black and white terms. LTE is no exception. There are a number of contributing factors but what is more important to understanding LTE are taking the contributing factors and couple them with situations that should be avoided. Whenever possible, pilots should learn to avoid the following combinations:

1. Low and slow flight outside of ground effect.
2. Winds from ±15ยบ of the 10 o'clock position and probably on around to 5 o'clock position
3. Tailwinds that may alter the onset of translational lift and translational thrust hence induce high power demands and demand more anti-torque (left pedal) than the tail rotor can produce.
4. Low speed downwind turns.
5. Large changes of power at low airspeeds.
6. Low speed flight in the proximity of physical obstructions that may alter a smooth airflow to both the main rotor and tail rotor.

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA286
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 11, 2014 in South Tim Bailier Platform, GM
Aircraft: BELL 206 L4, registration: N207MY
Injuries: 2 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 June 11, 2014, about 1430 central daylight time, a Bell 206L4 helicopter, N207MY, impacted the waters in the Gulf of Mexico. The helicopter was registered to Coy Leasing LLC and operated by Westwind Helicopters, Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135. The commercial- rated pilot and passenger were fatally injured and the helicopter was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and company flight following was in effect. The flight departed an oil platform at 1409, and was en route to the South Tim Bailier 317 platform.

A witness who was located on the oil platform reported that he heard the helicopter approach the platform. The helicopter was on a straight in approach to the platform, when the helicopter started to spin in a clockwise direction. The witness added that the helicopter spun 8-10 times, before the helicopter went silent and then dropped to the water.

The helicopter sank and was recovered from about a depth of 380 feet of water. Examination of the helicopter showed extensive damage to the cabin. The tail boom had separated from the main fuselage and was recovered from the surface of the water. One of the main rotor blades, which had separated about four feet from the mast was not recovered. Several sections of the helicopter were not recovered, and included the landing skids, cabin door, and floor.

The wreckage was retrained for further examination.

A woman has sued a Galveston County helicopter transport company in the death of her husband.

Trinidad Bourgeois filed a lawsuit Feb. 19 in Galveston County District Court against Westwind Helicopters Inc., of Santa Fe, Texas, citing wrongful death.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff’s husband, Rory R. Bourgeois, was killed June 11, 2014, when the defendant was transporting him by helicopter between two platforms on Eugene Island in the Gulf of Mexico. The helicopter crashed and Bourgeois’ body was found the next day in the water, still strapped to his seat in the rotorcraft, the suit states.

The complaint states the defendant is liable for the pilot’s alleged negligent acts, including failure to adequately maintain, service, inspect and safely operate the helicopter.

The plaintiff cites loss and damages, past and future mental anguish and loss of companionship and inheritance.

Trinidad Bourgeois seeks in excess of $1 million in compensation, plus attorney fees and costs. She is represented by attorneys Curtis W. Fitzgerald II and Thomas J. Henry of the Law Offices of Thomas J. Henry in Corpus Christi.

Galveston County District Court case number: 15-CV-0158

Original article can be found at: http://setexasrecord.com

July 14, 2014: Wrongful death suit filed over helicopter crash

The family of a man killed in a helicopter crash is suing the aircraft’s owner for negligence.

Koethe Bourgeois, individually and as personal representative of the estate of Rory J. Bourgeois, and Kolton Bourgeois filed suit June 30 in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas against Westwind Helicopters Inc. of Santa Fe, Texas.

According to the complaint, on June 11 Rory Bourgeois was riding in a helicopter between the Eugene Island 331 and 317A offshore oil platforms when it crashed and sank into the Gulf of Mexico, causing Rory’s death. 

The defendant is accused of failing to properly maintain and service the helicopter, failing to perform an adequate pre-flight inspection, failing to reasonably operate the helicopter and failing to ensure the pilot was competent to fly.

The plaintiffs are seeking actual damages in an amount exceeding jurisdictional limits, interest and costs.

They are represented by Houston attorney Francis I. Spagnoletti of Spagnoletti & Co.

Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas Case No. 3:14-cv-00212

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note, a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt and it represents only one side of the story.

Source: http://setexasrecord.com