Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Civil Helicopter Accidents in 2015 Declined in U.S., Statistics Show: Preliminary data shows spotty progress elsewhere around the world

The Wall Street Journal
By ANDY PASZTOR
March 1, 2016 8:24 p.m. ET


Total accident and fatality rates for civil helicopters in the U.S. dropped more than 15% in 2015 versus a year earlier, even as safety advances eluded many other parts of the globe.

Annual crash statistics released by Helicopter Association International, the industry’s biggest trade association, on Tuesday indicated gradual but steady progress across the U.S. with roughly one fatal nonmilitary crash for every 200,000 flight hours. But the preliminary data also highlighted the spotty nature of progress world-wide.

In Canada and Brazil, for instance, the raw number of crashes and frequency of fatalities either remained on a plateau, or moved upward.

Europe, on the other hand, achieved more than a 50% year-over-year drop in total accidents as well as fatal accidents. But as is often the case outside of the U.S., safety experts didn’t release specific rates partly due to the difficulty of accurately determining the cumulative number of hours helicopters actually flew throughout the region.

Even for U.S. operations, the overall rate of more than seven accidents per 200,000 flight hours was only marginally improved from levels recorded in 2010 and 2011. And the preliminary 2015 rate was almost identical to the preliminary 2014 rate released a year ago.

Rates typically are adjusted based on updated information about accidents, helicopter registrations and other variables.

The U.S. Helicopter Safety Team, a joint industry-government organization spearheading the nationwide rotorcraft safety drive, reiterated its basic conclusions from a year ago. The latest release said the overall rate of crashes continues to be down more than 50% from baseline figures assembled before the sweeping accident-reduction effort was launched in 2006.

The initial goal, for the U.S. as well as globally, was to slash civil helicopter rates 80% from that baseline by 2016. But once that target seemed unreachable, industry leaders stopped publicly relying on that metric, and instead started defining their “vision” as eventually eliminating all chopper accidents world-wide.

More recently, industry safety experts increasingly are moving to focus more attention on dissecting and keeping track of fatal accidents, rather than monitoring across-the-board accident rates. They also are shifting to identify hazards and potential accident scenarios in specific segments of the industry.

The latest chopper statistics come weeks after airline experts reported a milestone achievement for their industry. For all of 2015, not a single passenger died as a result of a jetliner crash anywhere in the world. That accomplishment excludes jets that were shot down, intentionally brought down by a pilot or mysteriously disappeared during cruise.

Helicopters are much more prone to crashing than fixed-wing aircraft because they routinely fly close to the ground near potential deadly obstacles; many are operated by a single pilot, rather than the two-person crews found in cockpits of airliners and business aircraft; and they perform a wider array of roles, from flying into remote mining areas to being used as air ambulances that often transport patients from unfamiliar locations in bad weather.

According to a recent helicopter safety report by Flightglobal, an online news and information website, there was one fatal crash of a Western-built turbine helicopter per 380 aircraft in service in 2015. Those totals include government-operated flights but exclude military operations. The comparable rate in 2014 was one fatal event per 600 operating helicopters. Single-engine models continued to suffer substantially more fatal events than twin-engine choppers.

Still, the report concludes that “on average, Western-built turbine helicopters are now about twice as safe as they were at the start of the 1990’s.”

Original article can be found here: http://www.wsj.com

Embraer EMB-505 Phenom 300, NetJets, N358QS: Incident occurred March 01, 2016 at Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, (KORD), Illinois

http://registry.faa.govN358QS

NTSB Identification: CEN16IA117
14 CFR Part 91 Subpart K: Fractional
Incident occurred Tuesday, March 01, 2016 in Chicago, IL
Aircraft: EMBRAER 505, registration: N358QS
Injuries: 2 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 used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.

On March 1, 2016, at 1206 central standard time, an Embraer EMB-505, N358QS, impacted runway lights during a contaminated landing overrun on runway 9L (7,500 feet by 150 feet, concrete/grooved) at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD), Chicago, Illinois. The airplane sustained minor damage that included damage to the wing leading edges. The pilot and copilot were uninjured. The airplane was operated by NetJets under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 subpart K as a positioning flight that was operating on an instrument rules flight plan. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that originated at ORD and was destined to Chicago Executive Airport (PWK), Wheeling, Illinois but due to weather conditions returned to ORD.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Chicago PART 121 OPS ONLY - FSDO-31


CHICAGO -- Two planes slid off separate runways at O'Hare Airport Tuesday afternoon.

Just after noon, an Embraer Phenom E55P aircraft operated by NetJets slid off the end of Runway 9-Left after landing.

Two people were on board, but no injuries were reported. The runway remains closed.

A few minutes later, American Airlines Flight 1051, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83, requested to be towed to the terminal after sliding on Taxiway J.

It's not clear how many people were on board that flight.

The FAA is investigating both incidents.

Original article can be found here: http://wgntv.com

American Airlines, McDonnell Douglas MD-83, N436AA: Incident occurred March 01, 2016 at Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, (KORD), Illinois

Two planes slid on runways at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport Tuesday, officials said. 

A corporate jet, which had two passengers on board, exited the runway just after noon, according to the Chicago Fire Department. 

Chicago Department of Aviation spokeswoman Karen Pride said the aircraft, operated by a company called Net Jets, was originally destined for Executive Airport in Wheeling. 

No injuries were reported, but the incident is under investigation, Pride said. 

An American Airlines plane with 65 passengers and five crew members on board was also heading out for departure when it slid on the taxiway and needed assistance straightening out, the airline said. 

American Airlines Flight 1051, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83, requested to be towed to the terminal after sliding on Taxiway J, according to the Federal Aviation Administration and the airline. The plane is expected to take off later Tuesday after it has been de-iced.

The FAA is investigating both incidents. 

More than 400 flights flying in and out of Chicago were canceled Tuesday ahead of snow forecast for several northern suburbs.  An icy mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow began to fall Monday night and continued into Tuesday morning before turning to all snow.

Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com

AMERICAN AIRLINES INC: http://registry.faa.gov/N436AA

Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil, N711BE: Fatal accident occurred November 18, 2015 at McClellan-Palomar Airport (KCRQ), Carlsbad, San Diego County, California

Wayne Lewis
A close friend said his friend, Wayne, had an immense passion for flying and died doing what he loved. “He had a great love for helicopters,” said Marty Reed, referring to his late friend, Wayne Lewis. “He’d be the first one to tell you he was doing what he loved."


Bruce Erickson

Bruce was a bundle of kinetic energy, and this was most pronounced in his love of machines. He had “the touch” with everything mechanical, and of course, anything that took flight. Bruce came alive at the mere mention of any plane. Bruce logged over 30,000 hours in prop planes, turboprops, jets, floatplanes, Huskies, and a variety of helicopters. In fact, Bruce’s first flying lesson was at age 11. By age 16, he was flying on his own. Over the next 50 years that followed, he used his seat in the cockpit as a means to create opportunities in life and in business, shrinking the world and bringing some of it home to Montana. Never was Bruce more at peace in this world than when he soared above our mountains and rivers; one with the clouds, the eagles, and all others who seek to escape Earth’s bounds. Today, he is at rest where he was always most at home.



The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Diego, California
Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses; Le Bourget, FN

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

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

Guaranty Development Company
Bruce Erickson, President  & CEO

http://registry.faa.gov/N711BE




NTSB Identification: WPR16FA029
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, November 18, 2015 in Carlsbad, CA
Aircraft: AIRBUS HELICOPTERS AS350B3E, registration: N711BE
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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On November 18, 2015, at 1623 Pacific standard time, an Airbus Helicopters AS350B3E, N711BE, departed controlled flight while landing on a dolly at Mc Clellan-Palomar Airport, Carlsbad, California. The private pilot and the pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured; the helicopter sustained substantial damage. The pilot, who was the owner, was operating the helicopter under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The local personal flight departed Carlsbad at 1412. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The purpose of the flight was for the pilot to gain familiarity with the helicopter, which he had recently purchased. The entire accident sequence was captured on a series of airport security cameras and the mobile phone cameras of multiple witnesses.

About 2 hours before the accident, the helicopter departed from its dolly on the east end of the Premier Jet fixed base operator (FBO) ramp, which was located midfield on the south side of runway 6/24. After departure, line crew moved the dolly to the west end of the ramp.

Upon returning, the helicopter approached the airport from the northeast and was cleared to land on runway 24. It descended to midfield, turned left at taxiway A3, and approached the ramp in a low hover via the parallel taxiway A. The helicopter then began an approach to the dolly from the east, directly toward the sun. The helicopter landed short of, and partially on, the dolly with the center of its skids contacting the dolly's aft edge. The helicopter immediately rocked back, pitching nose up, and its tailskid struck the ground. The helicopter then began a series of fore and aft oscillations, and the dolly broke free from its front left chock, rotated to the right, and pivoted around its rear right wheel. The helicopter spun rapidly with the dolly for the first quarter of the turn and then quickly spiraled upward 270° to the right. The dolly came to rest to the north, having rotated 180°. The pilot repositioned the helicopter and landed it on the ground, straddling the ramp and taxiway A. Just before landing, the pilot was queried by the air traffic control tower controller and responded, "yeah, they didn't chock my cart, and I was like a skateboard out here," The tower controller then requested that the pilot switch to the ground control frequency.



During the next 2 1/2 minutes, the line crew re-secured the dolly, installing chocks on three of the four wheels. The pilot then took off and climbed the helicopter to about 20 ft while it yawed to the left, and he repositioned it for an approach to the dolly now from the west. During the next 4 1/2 minutes, the pilot made three landing attempts, getting the helicopter to within about 5 ft vertically of the dolly on the first two attempts. After the first attempt, the pilot repositioned the helicopter by circling back around the dolly. After the second attempt, the pilot performed a hovering climb and backed the helicopter into position. A video of the third and final landing attempt was captured by a witness, who was located about 130 ft to the south. The witness was initially watching the helicopter from his airplane on the ramp, but he was concerned that the helicopter might crash, so he exited the airplane and positioned himself behind a car at the corner of the FBO's hangar.

The video revealed that the helicopter hovered over the dolly for about 60 seconds and then landed short, teetering on the aft edge of the dolly (Image 1). The tailskid almost struck the ground, and the helicopter then rapidly pitched forward (Image 2) and then aft again. The tailskid then struck the ground (Image 3), and the helicopter pitched forward, rolled right (Images 4 and 5), and climbed out of view behind the hangar. Security cameras revealed that the helicopter then spun 180° to the left, and the nose pitched up to a 45° attitude. The tail rotor and vertical stabilizer assembly then struck the ground and separated, and the helicopter hit the ground left side low, bounced, and rotated another 360° before landing hard on its belly. Once on the ground, the main rotor blades continued to spin, while the helicopter started spinning on its belly, as the engine continued to operate (Image 6).

The helicopter continued spinning at a rate of about one revolution per second for the next 5 minutes while incrementally sliding about 530 ft east along the ramp. The tailboom and horizontal stabilizer then separated, and the helicopter rolled onto its side, shedding the main rotor blades. The engine continued operating for another 30 seconds while the fire crew doused the helicopter. White smoke billowed from the engine's exhaust after the helicopter came to rest, but there was no fire.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot was seated in the front right seat, and the pilot-rated passenger was seated in the front left seat.

Pilot

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and sea, multiengine land, instrument airplane, and rotorcraft-helicopter. He also held a type rating for the Cessna Citation Jet (CE-525S).

The pilot held a third-class medical certificate issued on January 19, 2015, with the limitation that he must have available glasses for near vision.

No personal flight records were located for the pilot. At the time of his last medical application, he reported a total flight time of 25,000 hours, with 200 hours logged in the last 6 months. The pilot reported the same numbers on three other applications over the 5-year period preceding the accident, and 25,400 hours total time on his application dated January 18, 2011. His helicopter rating was issued in May 2001, at which time he reported on his rating application a total flight time of 14,000 hours in airplanes.

The pilot had previously owned and flown a Cessna Citation business jet airplane and a Bell 407 helicopter. His 2001 helicopter checkride flight took place in a Bell 206B3. At the time of the accident, he was receiving recurrent training for the Citation, with the most recent flight 2 days before the accident. The pilot purchased the accident helicopter on October 29, 2015, and had flown demonstration and familiarization flights in it since September 20. According to the helicopter's flight logs, those flights totaled about 8.8 hours and were all conducted with a flight instructor present. The pilot then flew the helicopter with another instructor for an additional 2 hours on November 13.

According to the two instructors who had flown with the pilot for the familiarization flights and the flight instructor who provided training in the Citation, the accident flight was the first time the pilot had flown in an AS350 without an instructor present. All had recommended that the pilot gain further instruction before flying without an instructor, and the pilot had concurred.

The three instructors shared similar insights into the pilot's flying skills, reporting that, while he appeared to have extensive flying experience, he was anxious about the handling characteristics of the AS350 compared to the Bell 407, particularly during landing. The pilot said that he was having difficulty anticipating flight control forces because the helicopter controls felt "backwards" due to the opposing rotor direction of the AS350 compared to the Bell 407. Furthermore, he was having trouble landing on the dolly partly because the tips of the skids were just behind his seating location in the AS350, as opposed to the Bell 407, where he could see the skids just forward and below. Both helicopter instructors reported performing multiple dolly and simulated dolly landings with the pilot, stating that, although the pilot was not completely at ease, he was able to ultimately land on the dolly unaided. The pilot told the Citation instructor that, although he had practiced many landings in the helicopter, he still did not feel proficient and thought that the helicopter was very unstable close to the ground, especially when it was close to the dolly.

One of the helicopter instructors reported that the pilot wanted to enable the helicopter's stability augmentation system (SAS) for landings because he had been told it would help his landings. The instructor stated that he wanted the pilot to be able to fly the helicopter proficiently without the use of the SAS. However, for demonstration purposes, they did two landings with the SAS enabled. During those attempts, the pilot appeared to be "fighting" against the SAS control inputs, with unsatisfactory results, and he did not understand how to use the SAS release button on the cyclic to override the SAS control inputs. Therefore, the pilot and instructor decided to turn the system off.

Both helicopter instructors reported that the pilot appeared to have suffered an injury that restricted movement of his left arm. He could use his left arm to operate the flight controls and reach the lower sections of the flight panel, but he could not reach the upper controls, including the engine start selector panel, without the supportive aid of his right arm. One instructor stated that because of the injury, the pilot was unable to climb up onto the helicopter to perform preflight examinations of the rotor head. One helicopter instructor and the Citation instructor stated that the pilot's hands often shook and that it was particularly obvious when he held a pen, although once he grasped the flight controls the shaking stopped.

Both helicopter instructors suggested that the pilot take formal factory-approved flight training, and one instructor stated that he had declined to provide any further instruction until the pilot had taken training at the Airbus Helicopters flight school. According to Airbus Helicopters, in early October, the pilot had signed up for a "B3 Pilot Transition Class" scheduled for November 2, but 2 days before the class he called to defer the training. No further communication from the pilot was received by Airbus Helicopters.

The Citation instructor, who had known the pilot for 6 years, reported that the pilot was becoming concerned that age was starting to affect his reaction time when flying. The instructor had observed the pilot's degrading flight performance and had conversations with him about how maintaining proficiency through regular flying could help. He stated that the pilot was no longer fully proficient in the Citation, that his reaction times were becoming slower, and that he would often let the airplane get ahead of him. As such, the instructor recommended that the pilot always fly with him. He stated that the pilot mentioned that he was going to fly the helicopter for practice with a friend on the day of the accident.

The pilot confided in all three instructors that, due to the difficulties he was having mastering the AS350, he was most likely going to sell it and buy another Bell 407. All three instructors stated that they had never seen the pilot's logbooks and had, therefore, never made any entries.

Pilot-Rated Passenger

The pilot-rated passenger held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and rotorcraft-helicopter. His first rating was for rotorcraft-helicopter, and it was issued in December 2004 following a checkride in a Bell 206B3. He was issued his airplane single-engine land rating in December 2014, and, at that time, he reported on his rating application a total rotorcraft flight time of 179.6 hours, including 163 solo hours.

He held a third-class medical certificate issued on May 29, 2014 with no limitations.

No personal flight records for the pilot-rated passenger were located, and his currency or recent flight experience could not be determined. At the times of issuance of his two prior FAA medical examinations in 2008 and 2012, he reported total flight times of 185 and 200 hours respectively, with no flight time in the preceding 6 months on both occasions.

HELICOPTER INFORMATION

The helicopter was manufactured in 2014 and equipped with a Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine. The helicopter had dual collective, cyclic, and foot pedal controls, with primary flight control intended from the right seat.

The helicopter was maintained under a continuous airworthiness program and had accrued 35.2 hours of total time since new when the accident occurred. The last inspection took place 20.6 flight hours before the accident on August 15, 2015.

The helicopter had undergone a series of twenty-three upgrades in May 2015, including the installation of an auxiliary side locker fuel tank, full length skid shoes, a radar altimeter, and a Genesys Aerosystems HeliSAS stability augmentation system and two-axis (pitch and roll) autopilot.

The HeliSAS system provided attitude stabilization and force feedback to the cyclic control, via electro-mechanical servo actuators connected in parallel to the flight controls. The systems technical overview documentation stated:

"The HeliSAS system is designed to be engaged at all times: "SAS" on before takeoff, and "SAS" off after landing. The "force feel" (force trim) feature enhances handling characteristics and mitigates inadvertent cyclic control inputs that could result in dangerous attitudes. The pilot may override the HeliSAS at any time with manual cyclic inputs. Only 3.5 lbs of pilot force in the pitch axis, and 3.0 lbs in the roll axis, at the cyclic control is required to override the system for pilot desired maneuvering when either the SAS or autopilot modes are engaged."

The helicopter was serviced with the addition of 70 gallons of Jet A fuel on the morning of the accident.



METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

According to the U.S. Naval Observatory's Astronomical Applications Department, the altitude of the sun when viewed from Carlsbad at 1620 would have been 4.3°, with an azimuth (E of N) of 243.7°.

FLIGHT RECORDERS

The helicopter was equipped with an Appareo Vision 1000 flight data monitor. The unit was capable of recording video, audio, GPS coordinates, and pitch, roll, yaw and acceleration data. The unit was mounted in the aft center ceiling of the cockpit.

The unit was sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Division for data extraction, and a video group consisting of the NTSB investigator-in-charge and technical representatives from Turbomeca and Airbus Helicopters was convened to review the data.

The unit had recorded video and audio data, along with GPS coordinates for the entire flight. The field of view included over-the-shoulder video images of the forward cockpit, which included both cyclic controls and the right-seat collective and foot pedal controls, along with most of the instrument panel and a view out the lower forward portion of the windscreen. The unit did not record any radio or microphone audio. Only loud engine and transmission noises could be heard for the duration of the recording.

The video recording began at 1406:52 and depicted the helicopter stationary on the dolly at the east end of the FBO's ramp, with the engine running and the pilot configuring the avionics system. Six minutes later, the helicopter departed.

GPS data indicated that for the next 27 minutes the helicopter flew generally to the east and approached an open field at an elevation of about 4,500 ft mean sea level (msl), 4.5 miles south of the peak of Palomar Mountain. The helicopter then performed a left downwind landing approach into the field, lined up on final from the south, and landed at the far end of the field just short of the tree line. Twenty seconds after landing, the pilot turned on the SAS system. The pilot then initiated a hover, and the helicopter lifted off the ground and immediately yawed about 25° to the left, before setting back onto the ground. Thirty seconds later, the pilot began another hovering maneuver, and, after lifting off the ground, the helicopter immediately spun about 150° to the right before setting back onto the ground.

About 40 seconds later, at 1443:09, the helicopter lifted off the ground up uneventfully, and departed toward the southeast. For the next hour, the helicopter took a route toward the Salton Sea, then north along the coastline toward La Quinta, where it turned inland and began to track back to Carlsbad. During the period after departing from the field, the pilot turned the SAS system from active to standby mode multiple times and occasionally engaged the autopilot. Helicopter control was handed back and forth between the two pilots as they performed various tasks including activating the auxiliary fuel tank transfer pump, viewing their personal electronic devices, and referencing the helicopter's flight manual.

About 1610, the helicopter approached the airport from the east, conducted a straight-in approach, and crossed the threshold of runway 24 at 1612:05. The SAS system was in standby mode, and, as the helicopter approached the runway, the passenger lifted his right hand over his face in an apparent effort to shield himself from sun glare. The pilot appeared to be wearing sunglasses. The helicopter flew along the runway and then turned left, crossed the runway 6-24 hold short line, and entered taxiway A3 while in a low hover. The helicopter proceeded along taxiway A, approaching the landing dolly, which, having been relocated, was now at the west end of the FBO's ramp.

The helicopter approached the dolly, but, due to sun glare, minimal outside references were visible in the recording. Over the next 30 seconds, the occupants appeared to have been jostled in their seats, the helicopter pitched nose down, and the cockpit instruments registered a right roll of about 25°. The helicopter then yawed to the right and began maneuvering toward taxiway A and the ramp. It landed straddling the ramp and taxiway, and the pilot then entered the ground control frequency in the avionics system. About that time, an incoming call was received on the pilot's phone; he picked up the phone, ignored the call, and put the phone back down again.

After about 2 minutes, the pilot initiated a hover, and, as soon as the helicopter broke ground, it immediately yawed about 30° to the left. The pilot maneuvered the helicopter west along taxiway A and performed a left turn, toward the east, bringing the helicopter in line with the dolly. During the following three landing attempts, the dolly passed in and out of view in the left side of the lower portion of the helicopter's chin bubble. The pilot's cyclic control inputs were pronounced as the dolly came in and out of view. On the second attempt, as the dolly disappeared from view, both occupants appeared to rock forward. The pilot then backed up the helicopter in a low hover, and the dolly came back into view.

With the dolly still visible, the helicopter again rocked back and forth and slowly descended, while both occupants again rocked forward. The needle displayed on the first limit indicator on the instrument panel dropped rapidly as the pilot quickly lowered the collective control. Comparison of the onboard video with the security camera video indicated that, about this time, the tailskid struck the ground, and the helicopter pitched up and rotated 180° before the tail again struck the ground. During this time, the pilot was still holding the cyclic and collective controls, and his feet were on the foot pedals. Both occupants then moved aggressively back and forth and from side to side, until the helicopter landed hard on its nose, and both occupants violently rocked to the right. The pilot slumped over to the right and remained motionless, and the helicopter began to spin.

As the spin progressed, the pilot-rated passenger reached down to the throttle control on the pilot's collective with his right hand. His hand remained on the control for about 3 seconds, but the control did not move out of the "FLIGHT" detent position. The passenger then moved his right hand to the glare shield lip where it remained for about the next 2 minutes. The passenger then appeared to loosen his grip on the glare shield, and he remained motionless, while the helicopter continued to spin. Eventually a loud "bang" was recorded, and the helicopter stopped violently and came to rest on its right side. Neither occupant moved as first responder personnel arrived and began the process of entering the cabin.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Pilot

At the time of his most recent FAA medical examination, the pilot reported hypertension and the use of medications including nebivolol (blood pressure medication), pantoprazole (heartburn medication), and rosuvastatin (cholesterol lowering medication).

According to the autopsy performed by the County of San Diego Office of the Medical Examiner, the pilot's cause of death was multiple injuries, and the manner of death was accident.

The autopsy report noted significant intracranial injuries with bilateral subdural and subarachnoid hemorrhage more pronounced on the right side and the base of the brain extending into the foramen magnum and cervical canal. Intraventricular hemorrhage without parenchymal contusions was also noted. In addition, hemorrhage of the anterior cervical ligament associated with fractures of the body of C6 (and possibly C7) with associated subdural hemorrhage surrounding the cervical spinal cord was identified.

The pilot's heart was enlarged, and mild coronary artery disease with 50% stenosis was also described.

Toxicology testing by the medical examiner detected amlodipine (0.34 mg/l) and alprazolam (less than 0.05 mg/l) in peripheral blood.

Toxicology testing by the FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, identified amlodipine, valsartan, rosuvastatin, and diphenhydramine (0.538 ug/ml) in heart blood. In addition, the FAA laboratory found alpha-hydroxyalprazolam (0.044 ug/ml) and salicylate in urine.

Amlodipine and valsartan are blood pressure medications and, along with rosuvastatin, are generally considered non-impairing. Alpha-hydroxyalprazolam is a metabolite of alprazolam, a potentially impairing anxiety medication. Alprazolam is commonly marketed under the name Xanax, and it carries the warning: "Because of its CNS (central nervous system) depressant effects, patients receiving alprazolam tablets should be cautioned against engaging in hazardous occupations or activities requiring complete mental alertness such as operating machinery or driving a motor vehicle. For the same reason, patients should be cautioned about the simultaneous ingestion of alcohol and other CNS depressant drugs during treatment with alprazolam tablets." Diphenhydramine is a sedating antihistamine that has been shown to significantly impair performance at routine doses.



Pilot-Rated Passenger

The pilot-rated passenger reported no chronic medical problems and no medications at the time of his most recent FAA medical examination.

According to the autopsy performed by the County of San Diego Office of the Medical Examiner, the pilot-rated passenger's cause of death was multiple injuries, and the manner of death was accident.

His injuries included bilateral subdural and subarachnoid hemorrhages, ligamentous instability at C1/C2, and fracture at C6/C7 with associated subdural hemorrhage but without obvious spinal cord injury. In the torso, there was a fracture of the sternum along with multiple rib fractures, some associated with retroperitoneal hemorrhage. There were widely open fractures of both bones of the lower left leg. He was found to have an enlarged heart with thickened walls and minimal coronary artery disease.

Toxicology testing by the FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory identified ranitidine (a non-impairing heartburn medication) in the pilot-rated passenger's urine.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Postaccident examination of the helicopter did not reveal any anomalies with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. The throttle was found in the "FLIGHT" detent, and the left and right throttle controls could both be moved in concert with each other smoothly between the control detents.

Dolly

The primary structure of the dolly was composed of a 14-ft-wide and 12-ft-long red-painted steel frame, with two castering wheels at the front, and two fixed wheels at the rear. A steel, V-shaped hinged tow bar was attached to the front of the dolly. The landing deck surface was about 12 inches off the ground and made of wood planks coated with light-grey non-slip paint. No manufacturer's label or data plate could be found on the dolly. Standard operating procedures dictated that the helicopter approach the dolly from the rear and land with the tow bar at the front of the helicopter, thereby allowing clearance from the towing vehicle.

Examination revealed two indentations on the rear side of the dolly frame spaced 7 ft 3 inches apart or about the width separating the helicopter's left and right landing skids. The indentations contained freshly detached paint chips that exposed shiny uncorroded steel. Crush marks were present on the wood planks adjacent to the indentations.

Security camera video footage and statements provided by the FBO line crew indicated that, for the first landing approach, the dolly's rear right and front left wheels were chocked. In the video footage, a line crewmember could be seen checking the security of the chocks after initially setting both wheels. For the accident approach, the rear right and both front wheels were chocked. The chocks were standard triangular-shaped rubber aviation chock pairs that were attached to one another with a short length of rope.

The slope of the ramp at the dolly location for the final landing attempts was about 3° down from right to left when viewed from the approach direction. The helicopter's flight manual indicated a maximum sideways landing slope of 8°.

Seats

Both front seats were of the energy attenuating type designed to absorb vertical impact loads. The seats were equipped with four-point belt harnesses.

The front left seat did not exhibit evidence of vertical displacement (stroking). The left side of the front right seat did not exhibit evidence of stroking; the right side of the seat exhibited a vertical stroke of about 1 inch downward.



NTSB Identification: WPR16FA029
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, November 18, 2015 in Carlsbad, CA
Aircraft: AIRBUS HELICOPTERS AS350B3E, registration: N711BE
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 November 18, 2015, about 1624 Pacific standard time, an Airbus Helicopters AS350B3E, N711BE, departed controlled flight while landing on a moveable helipad at Mc Clellan-Palomar Airport, Carlsbad, California. The pilot, who was the owner, was operating the helicopter under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot and private pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured; the helicopter sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight departed Carlsbad at 1411. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The entire accident sequence was captured on airport security cameras and the mobile phone cameras of multiple witnesses.

The helicopter departed earlier in the day from the east end of the Premier Jet fixed base operator (FBO) ramp, which was located midfield on the south side of runway 6/24. After departure, line crew moved the helipad to the west end of the ramp.

Upon returning, the helicopter approached the airport from the northeast and was cleared to land on runway 24. It descended to midfield, turned left, and approached the ramp in a low hover via taxiway A3. The helicopter then followed taxiway A and began an approach to the helipad from the east and into the direction of the sun. The helicopter then landed short of the helipad, with the center of its skids making contact with the pad's front edge. The helicopter immediately rocked back and its tailskid struck the ground. The helicopter then began a series of back and forth oscillations, and the helipad broke free from the rear left chock, rotated to the right, and pivoted around its front right wheel. The helicopter spun with the helipad for the first quarter of the turn, and then rapidly climbed and rotated 270 degrees to the right. The helipad came to rest to the north, having revolved 180 degrees, and about 50 seconds later the helicopter landed on the tarmac east of the helipad, while partially straddling taxiway A and the ramp at a 45-degree angle.

For the next 2 1/2 minutes line crew re-secured the helipad, installing chocks on three of the four wheels. The helicopter then repositioned for an approach to the helipad from the west. During the next 4 1/2 minutes the helicopter made three landing attempts, getting to within 5 to 20 ft of the helipad. A video of the final landing attempt was captured by a witness, who was located about 130 ft south. He had observed the other landing attempts and was concerned that the helicopter may crash, so positioned himself behind a car at the corner of the FBO's hangar.

The video revealed that the helicopter again landed short of the pad, similar to the first landing attempt, rocking back and forth twice onto its tailskid. After the final strike, the helicopter pitched violently forward and out of view behind the hangar. Security cameras revealed that from here the helicopter spun 180 degrees to the left, and after reaching a 45-degree nose up attitude, the aft tailrotor and vertical stabilizer assembly struck the ground and separated. The helicopter bounced and rotated another 360 degrees before landing hard on its left side. Once on the ground, the main rotor blades and cabin continued to spin with the engine still running. The helicopter continued spinning for the next 5 minutes and 10 seconds while slowly sliding about 530 ft east along the ramp. The tailboom and horizontal stabilizer then separated and the helicopter rolled onto its side, shedding the main rotor blades. The engine continued operating for another 30 seconds while fire crew doused the helicopter. White smoke billowed from the engine's exhaust after the helicopter came to rest, but there was no indication of fire.

The pilot purchased the helicopter on October 29, 2015, but had flown demonstration and familiarization flights in it since September 20. According to the helicopter's maintenance records, those flights totaled about 8.8 hours, and were all conducted with a certified flight instructor present. He received an additional 2 hours of flight training on November 13.

According to friends and flight instructors who had flown with the pilot, he had previously owned a Bell 407, and the accident flight was the first he had flown in the AS350 series without a professional pilot present.
GUARANTY DEVELOPMENT CO
BRUCE ERICKSON PRESIDENT & CEO
http://registry.faa.gov/N711BE

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA San Diego FSDO-09

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA029
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, November 18, 2015 in Carlsbad, CA
Aircraft: AIRBUS HELICOPTERS AS350B3E, registration: N711BE
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 November 18, 2015, about 1624 Pacific standard time, an Airbus Helicopters AS350B3E, N711BE, departed controlled flight while landing on a moveable helipad at Mc Clellan-Palomar Airport, Carlsbad, California. The pilot, who was the owner, was operating the helicopter under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot and private pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured; the helicopter sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight departed Carlsbad at 1411. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.


The entire accident sequence was captured on airport security cameras and the mobile phone cameras of multiple witnesses.


The helicopter departed earlier in the day from the east end of the Premier Jet fixed base operator (FBO) ramp, which was located midfield on the south side of runway 6/24. After departure, line crew moved the helipad to the west end of the ramp.


Upon returning, the helicopter approached the airport from the northeast and was cleared to land on runway 24. It descended to midfield, turned left, and approached the ramp in a low hover via taxiway A3. The helicopter then followed taxiway A and began an approach to the helipad from the east and into the direction of the sun. The helicopter then landed short of the helipad, with the center of its skids making contact with the pad's front edge. The helicopter immediately rocked back and its tailskid struck the ground. The helicopter then began a series of back and forth oscillations, and the helipad broke free from the rear left chock, rotated to the right, and pivoted around its front right wheel. The helicopter spun with the helipad for the first quarter of the turn, and then rapidly climbed and rotated 270 degrees to the right. The helipad came to rest to the north, having revolved 180 degrees, and about 50 seconds later the helicopter landed on the tarmac east of the helipad, while partially straddling taxiway A and the ramp at a 45-degree angle.


For the next 2 1/2 minutes line crew re-secured the helipad, installing chocks on three of the four wheels. The helicopter then repositioned for an approach to the helipad from the west. During the next 4 1/2 minutes the helicopter made three landing attempts, getting to within 5 to 20 ft of the helipad. A video of the final landing attempt was captured by a witness, who was located about 130 ft south. He had observed the other landing attempts and was concerned that the helicopter may crash, so positioned himself behind a car at the corner of the FBO's hangar.


The video revealed that the helico
pter again landed short of the pad, similar to the first landing attempt, rocking back and forth twice onto its tailskid. After the final strike, the helicopter pitched violently forward and out of view behind the hangar. Security cameras revealed that from here the helicopter spun 180 degrees to the left, and after reaching a 45-degree nose up attitude, the aft tailrotor and vertical stabilizer assembly struck the ground and separated. The helicopter bounced and rotated another 360 degrees before landing hard on its left side. Once on the ground, the main rotor blades and cabin continued to spin with the engine still running. The helicopter continued spinning for the next 5 minutes and 10 seconds while slowly sliding about 530 ft east along the ramp. The tailboom and horizontal stabilizer then separated and the helicopter rolled onto its side, shedding the main rotor blades. The engine continued operating for another 30 seconds while fire crew doused the helicopter. White smoke billowed from the engine's exhaust after the helicopter came to rest, but there was no indication of fire.

The pilot purchased the helicopter on October 29, 2015, but had flown demonstration and familiarization flights in it since September 20. According to the helicopter's maintenance records, those flights totaled about 8.8 hours, and were all conducted with a certified flight instructor present. He received an additional 2 hours of flight training on November 13.

According to friends and flight instructors who had flown with the pilot, he had previously owned a Bell 407, and the accident flight was the first he had flown in the AS350 series without a professional pilot present.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.


Wayne Lewis


SAN DIEGO (CN) - The family of a man killed in a freak helicopter crash at Palomar Airport this past year sued the airport, helicopter manufacturer and the pilot who also died in the crash.

Gary Lewis and his five brothers and sisters filed suit in San Diego Superior Court on Feb. 25 over the death of their "beloved brother" Wayne Lewis, who was the passenger on an Airbus helicopter operated by American Bank CEO Bruce Erickson.

The helicopter spun out and burst into flames this past November as Erickson tried to land the aircraft at the Premier Jet Facility at McClellan-Palomar Airport in north San Diego County. Both men died at the scene.

Lewis and his family claim product liability, negligence and wrongful death. They are seeking damages related to funeral and medical costs and for loss of financial support.

The Lewis family claims the Airbus helicopter had manufacturing defects including a lack of warnings and instructions for safe use which caused the crash and was a substantial factor in causing Lewis' death, according to the 12-page complaint.

Lewis also claims the airport was negligent in properly maintaining the landing site where the crash occurred - including securing the "chock" on each wheel of the mobile helipad to ensure it was stable before the helicopter landed.

Local news outlet 10News reported shortly after the crash that the chock had not been properly secured, which may have been why the helicopter spun out. In audio obtained by the station, Erickson is heard telling air traffic controllers that airport personal failed to secure the moveable landing pad which he claimed "was like a skateboard out here."

Named defendants include Airbus Helicopters, Palomar Airport Center dba Premier Jet and Erickson's estate.

The family is represented by Kevin Boyle, Brian Panish and Matthew Stumpf of Panish Shea & Boyle in Los Angeles.

Palomar Airport told Courthouse News Service they do not comment on pending litigation. Airbus Helicopters did not return an email request for comment, and Boyle did not return a phone call requesting comment.  

Original article can be found here: http://www.courthousenews.com









Bruce Erickson































Mystery surrounds false report of plane crash near Peggys Cove

A great deal of mystery and curiosity surrounds a small Nova Scotia community after a man reported a plane crash in Terence Bay, N.S., Tuesday night.

Emergency crews found no signs of a crash, but there's also no obvious explanation of what the man saw.

“As I looked up, I seen an explosion,” said Tim Slaunwhite, who made the 911 call.

It was dusk, and Slaunwhite had just finished feeding a stray neighbourhood cat. Moments later, he was on the phone with a 911 operator, convinced he was watching a disaster unfold in the sky.

“Bank right, bank left, then straighten it out. And then watch it and basically see him lose it for about 10 seconds in a straight flight-path, and then all of a sudden, it busts in two and then catches on fire,” he said.

Emergency crews descended on the area quickly. Search teams were dispatched, and a check with Navigation Canada confirmed there were no missing or overdue aircraft. The military says it was not conducting exercises in the area, and officials say hoax calls about plane crashes are exceptionally rare.

“When we get reports of plane crashes, they're usually plane crashes,” said deputy chief Roy Hollett of the Halifax Regional Fire Department.

Search crews found nothing, but Slaunwhite insists he knows what he saw, although he admits he didn't hear anything.

Astronomer David Lane says meteors can put on spectacular shows in the upper atmosphere, but they generally behave the same way, and they’re spotted by thousands of people.

“Astronomical things don't change direction, for one,” said Lane.

There's also the question of how long they're visible.

“A normal meteor lasts a second or two. A really long fireball might last 10 seconds,” Lane said.

Slaunwhite says he had time to call his brother before dialing 911.

“Watched that for about, oh, I'm going to say, a good, two, three minutes,” he said.

Experts note cooler, heavier air masses can sometimes produce mirages, literally a trick of the light. Slaunwhite says he knows what he saw, even if he was the only one to witness it.

RCMP say they are not planning to lay charges in this instance.

http://atlantic.ctvnews.ca




HALIFAX – A reported plane crash off of Peggy’s Cove on Tuesday night led to an extensive search of an area around Terence Bay, N.S., but it turned out to be a false alarm.

A resident called 911 just after 6 p.m. Tuesday and reported a plane had been downed in the area, which prompted a massive emergency response from Halifax RCMP, Halifax Regional Fire, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax and the Canadian Coast Guard.

HMCS Halifax, a cormorant helicopter, Coast Guard Ship Sambro and second coast guard vessel were deployed to the area to aid in the search, which was called off after about an hour.

Captain Cameron Hillier, public affairs officer with Joint Task Force Atlantic, said that early in the search, crews were informed by Air Traffic Control that no aircraft were reported overdue or missing.

Cpt. Hillier said with that in mind, the search continued for about an hour before being called off just before 10 p.m., with no additional emergency reports or 911 calls noted, no additional witness statements and no emergency distress beacons or debris noticed by crews in the area.

“The decision was made to stand all assets down and discontinue the search,” Hillier said, who called the type of call is particulary rare.

“Certainly, if you’ve got a downed aircraft, one would think much more than one person would see it…there would be a significant number of signs.”

Source:  http://www.news957.com



Search crews stood down Tuesday night after finding no evidence of a plane crash near Terence Bay, N.S.

The search lasted for a couple hours and included a navy frigate, a coast guard cutter, a cormorant helicopter, RCMP officers, and fire crews, said Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) spokesperson Capt. Cameron Hillier.

“After thorough search and no signs of distress, all assets have been stood down,” read a tweet from Joint Task Force Atlantic.

The Mounties said the search was ended in consultation with the JRCC, according to RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jennifer Clarke.

“Our watch commander, incident commander, have decided that we don’t have any evidence that an aircraft went down in that area.”

Search crews “can’t find any evidence at all,” said Clarke. Air Traffic Control doesn’t have any planes unaccounted for and JRCC said it hasn’t picked up any emergency signals.

The initial report came from a citizen at 6:35 p.m., he reported seeing something “suspicious,” Clarke said. He reported a small aircraft that appeared in distress, and police thought the report was credible.

The search was aided by a cormorant helicopter, the navy ship HMCS Halifax, and coast guard ship CCGS Sambro, along with a coast guard auxiliary boat. The crews searched the shore waters around Terence Bay and Peggy’s Cove.

Halifax fire crews found nothing on land

Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency says crews responded to the report as well but found nothing.

Crews searched for 45 minutes, first in the area of Terence Bay and then looped down to Peggy’s Cove, but found nothing, according to Division 3 Commander Kevin Reade.

Reade said a single emergency call came in from a person saying that a plane had crashed, split in two and caught fire. Fire crews returned to Halifax following their search.

Story, video, photo and audio: http://globalnews.ca