Saturday, August 26, 2017

Virginia State Police seeking public's help in crash investigation: Bell 407, N31VA, fatal accident occurred August 12, 2017 in Albemarle County, Virginia

Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Berke M.M. Bates

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- The Virginia State Police wants the public's help in the investigation of a helicopter crash that killed two state troopers on August 12th.

The crash killed pilot 48-year-old Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen of Midlothian, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton.

Troopers are asking people who live in the Old Farm Road neighborhood in Albemarle County not to discard any unusual objects or debris they may find.

If you find anything, call #77 on a cell phone or call 434-352-7128, so a trooper can be dispatched to collect the material.

Troopers also say the investigation into the crash is ongoing.

The investigation involves actual reconstruction of the helicopter to help National Transportation Safety Board investigators with figuring out the cause.

Original article can be found here ➤

Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Richmond, Virginia

Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of State Police

Rotorcraft crashed into a wooded area during public use operation. The two (2) souls on board were fatally injured.

Date: 12-AUG-17

Time: 20:50:00Z
Regis#: N31VA
Aircraft Make: BELL
Aircraft Model: B407
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PUBLIC USE
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Flight Number: VATRP1

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

Update on crash of Virginia State Police helicopter on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, Charlottesville, Virginia.

3:00 pm ET, August 14, 2017

The purpose of the flight was to provide a continuous video feed of activities on the ground, which was accomplished with multiple helicopters.

The accident helicopter (N31A), was a Bell 407, manufactured in 2000. It departed Charlottesville airport at 3:54 pm ET and was over the downtown area at 4:04 pm and engaged in mission-related activities there until 4:42, at which time it departed the area to provide support for a motorcade carrying Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

The last observed radar coverage indicates that the accident helicopter was traveling north/northeast at about 30 knots (34 mph) at an altitude of 2,300 feet. The first 911 call reporting the crash was received at 4:44 pm. The crash site is about 7 miles southwest of the Charlottesville airport.

The helicopter’s vertical flight path was about 45 degrees when it descended into trees. The main wreckage came to rest about 100 yards from where the aft portion of the tail boom became lodged in a tree.

There was a post-crash fire. 

The was no distress call from the accident helicopter.

The NTSB and the Virginia State Police are interviewing witnesses who reported seeing the helicopter in flight shortly before the crash. 

The helicopter was not equipped with either a flight data recorder or a cockpit voice recorder, nor was it required to be.

Investigators are working with local authorities today to recover the helicopter wreckage to a secure location where additional examination and documentation can be conducted.

The NTSB has been working closely with the Virginia State Police and appreciates it efforts to support the NTSB investigation.

A preliminary report detailing the facts and circumstances of the crash that have been developed in this early stage of the investigation will be available on the NTSB website within 2-3 weeks.

The entire investigation is expected to last 12-18 months.

All inquiries related to this accident investigation should be directed to NTSB Media Relations.

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