Friday, September 1, 2017

MD Helicopters MD530F (369F), N5189K, operated by the Gwinnett County Police Department: Accident occurred September 01, 2017 at Gwinnett County Airport (KLZU), Lawrenceville, Georgia

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

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

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

County of Gwinnett Georgia:

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA305
14 CFR Public Aircraft
Accident occurred Friday, September 01, 2017 in Lawrenceville, GA
Aircraft: MD HELICOPTER 369, registration: N5189K
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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

On September 1, 2017, at 1058 eastern daylight time, a MD Helicopters 369FF, N5189K, was substantially damaged while on approach to following an inflight loss of helicopter control at Gwinnett County Airport (LZU), Lawrenceville, Georgia. The commercial pilot and a pilot-rated crewmember were seriously injured. The helicopter was operated by the Gwinnett County Police Department as a local public flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated at LZU about 1000.

The pilot reported the following that. T the preflight inspection of the helicopter and en route portions of the flight were uneventful. After about 1one hour on station performing law enforcement duties, the pilot returned to LZU due to approaching weather conditions. While approaching the landing zone, the pilot noted a "strong wind gust" followed by a "sudden, uncommanded, violent, right yaw" and "what seemed to be an uncommanded climb." He applied cyclic and pedal inputs; however, the helicopter continued in a right spin for at least two full rotations until it impacted the ground. The pilots were met by first responders and transported to a local hospital for treatment of their injuries.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. He reported that the helicopter came to rest on its right side in the grass, adjacent to a taxiway. There was no fire. Structural damage to the fuselage, tail rotor, and main rotor were confirmed.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - The Gwinnett County Police Department says one of their corporals is now paralyzed following a helicopter crash in September.

The chopper crash happened at Briscoe Field on Sept. 1, when the chopper, carrying Officer George McLain, 38, and Corporal Michael Duncan, 46, went down. Both were taken to the hospital.

McLain, the pilot, was released from the hospital several days after the crash, but Duncan was transferred to Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta. He is currently paralyzed from the waist down. 

Gwinnett County officials say Duncan is still having pain but is improving each day. He is working hard with the staff at Shepherd to get back to being as independent as possible.

"We are very hopeful that he will recover and at some point he will return for duty," said Raymer Sale with the Gwinnett Police Foundation. "When police officers get hurt, then the mission changes."

The Gwinnett County Police Foundation will host a golf tournament on Oct. 2 at Chateau Elan.  The proceeds from the tournament will be donated to Duncan. 

It is anticipated that his home will need to be modified to accommodate wheelchair access. His family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money.

"People are really thinking about you. We know you are human beings and we appreciate all you do for us," Sale said. 

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One of the two Gwinnett County police officers involved in a helicopter crash last week has been discharged from the hospital while the other remains at Gwinnett Medical Center as of Wednesday afternoon.

The names and exact conditions of the officers have not yet been released.

The officers were using one of the department’s two helicopters — Air One — to help ground officers chase a wanted suspect during the morning of Sept. 1. Both were trained helicopter pilots who had flown before.

While they were in the air, the pilots began to notice a shift in the weather.

“As you know, it’s windy here today, and a storm was coming in,” Pihera said at the time. “So they notified the ground officers that they needed to go back to the hangar.”

They didn’t make it. The helicopter went down just before 11 a.m., about 200 yards from the police department’s hangar at the Gwinnett County Airport at Briscoe Field, a municipal airport owned and operated by Gwinnett County.

Neither pilot sustained life-threatening injuries.

“Both of our officers were conscious, alert,” Pihera said. “They were talking.”

One of the officers was able to climb out of the wreckage immediately. The other had his legs pinned inside the helicopter. Gwinnett County Fire Department personnel helped him escape.

Pihera said that pilot is the one who remained in Gwinnett Medical Center as of Wednesday.

She said both pilots are also on leave. It’s unclear when they’ll be back at work.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the exact cause of Air One’s crash. Spokesman Peter Knudson said the preliminary report will likely be finished in a little over a week.

Pihera said the seven officers in GCPD’s Aviation Unit haven’t flown their other helicopter since the crash.

“Their concern is making sure the injured pilots are being taken care of,” she said.

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- Two officers are conscious after a Gwinnett County Police helicopter crashed in Lawrenceville Friday morning.

The crash happened about 200 yards from a hangar at Gwinnett County Airport at Briscoe Field around 10:58 a.m.

Both officers were transported to GMC Lawrenceville, police said. The extent of their injuries is not yet known, but they are non-life threatening.

Gwinnett County Fire Department crews helped extricate an officer and pilot who was trapped inside the chopper, police said. The other officer was able to exit. Both were said to be alert, conscious and talking after the crash. 

"This is a hard situation here, we are a family at the Gwinnett Police Department and we don't like to hear that anyone on our staff has been hurt," Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Michele Pihera said. "If you could have seen what it looked like before I got here... it was just a swarm of Gwinnett police and fire."

The helicopter was returning back to the hanger after assisting uniform patrol officers with a chase of a wanted suspect when officials said weather conditions turned unfavorable. The weather conditions were windy and a storm was coming in, police said. 

They crashed in a wide-open, grassy area, Pihera said.

"This is the best, worst-case scenario, and we are just thankful that they are alive and it looks like they're going to survive their injuries," Pihera said.

Authorities have not identified the injured officers.

"I know that they've got other family members and we want to give them the opportunity to tell them in their own words what happened," Pihera said.

The Gwinnett County Police Department helicopter, which is one of two helicopters in its fleet, suffered significant damage. It’s unclear if the aircraft can be repaired.

At this time, it's unknown how far off the ground the helicopter was prior to crashing. The FAA will lead the investigation in determining the cause of this crash, Pihera said. 

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GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Gwinnett County police say one of their helicopters crashed at Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville.

Two pilots were conscious and talking when taken to Gwinnett Medical Center just after 11 a.m.

Channel 2's Tony Thomas at the scene said the crash broke the helicopter into two pieces. The helicopter's tail rotor broke off, and was about 20 feet from the fuselage. 

Police said the crew were returning back from a burglary call when the crash happened.

"They were helping to search the area from the air. We had officers on the ground and our officers up in the air were trying to help find him, just to add extra support," said Gwinnett Cpl. Michele Pihera.

The crash happened about 200 yards from a hangar. 

The Gwinnett County Fire Department helped rescue the officer and pilot, who were trapped inside. 

The department reported that the weather condition was windy and a storm was moving in.

The airport is closed while authorities investigate.

The Federal Aviation Authority will be investigating the cause of the crash.

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1 comment:

Aviddds said...

I flew a copter for years. If weather got rough, I'd land in a field or a parking lot and wait it out.