Sunday, July 8, 2018

Eurocopter EC 135P1, N312SA, owned by Bennett Aviation, LLC and operated by Pentastar Aviation Charter: Accident occurred July 07, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration; Washington, District of Columbia
Pentastar Aviation; Pontiac, Michigan

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N312SA 

Location: Chicago, IL
Accident Number: CEN18FA259
Date & Time: 07/07/2018, 2123 CDT
Registration: N312SA
Aircraft: EUROCOPTER DEUTSCHLAND GMBH EC135P1
Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor, 1 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled - Air Medical (Medical Emergency) 

On July 7, 2018, about 2123 central daylight time, an Eurocopter Deutschland GMBH EC135 P1 helicopter, impacted terrain during an autorotation following a dual engine failure while maneuvering near Chicago, Illinois. The pilot and paramedic sustained minor injuries, the flight nurse sustained serious injuries, and the patient was not injured during the accident. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, tailboom, and main rotor blades. The helicopter was owned by Bennett Aviation, LLC, Elmhurst, Illinois, and operated by Pentastar Aviation Charter under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an air ambulance flight. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and the flight was operated under a visual flight rules flight plan. The flight departed St. Mary Medical Center, Hobart, Indiana, at 2110, and was destined for Advocate Christ Medical Center, Oak Lawn, Illinois.

Preliminary satellite tracking and air traffic control information revealed the helicopter was traveling northwest from the St. Mary Medical Center on a direct route to Advocate Christ Medical Center about 1,000 ft above ground level. About 5 miles southeast of Advocate Christ Medical Center, the helicopter turned to the right after the pilot requested to return to the Gary, Indiana, airport. About 50 seconds later, the pilot declared a "mayday" and stated the helicopter was going down into a field. The helicopter came to rest upright in a grass area between the Interstate 94 and Interstate 57 interchange.

Surveillance video from a Chicago Transit Authority rail platform located adjacent to the accident site depicted the helicopter during the final phase of the autorotation and impact with terrain. The video showed a fire near the number 2 (right) engine during the autorotation. A explosion was observed after the impact with terrain.

Postaccident examination of the accident site revealed the initial impact was consistent with the fenestron skid cap contacting the terrain first, followed by the landing gear skids and fuselage. The left landing gear skid was separated and came to rest near the ground scar consistent with the fuselage. The fuselage was crushed upward, and the fenestron assembly was separated at the tailboom attachment location (see Figures 1 and 2). The pilot seat, paramedic seat, and flight nurse seat were found fully attenuated. Thermal damage was noted on the right engine and main transmission cowling. Both engines power turbine wheel blades were missing the outer halves of the blades. Multiple impact dents, consistent with the fractured turbine blades, were noted inside the exhaust stubs. The No. 1 engine had a 1/2" by 1/2" hole in the exhaust stub at the 2 o'clock position forward of the aft firewall, and the No. 2 engine had a 2" by 1" hole in the exhaust stub at the 11 o'clock position forward of the aft firewall.

The helicopter was equipped with an Outerlink IRIS video, voice, flight data, and satellite communications system. The IRIS equipment was removed and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder laboratory for video, voice, and data extraction.


Figure 1. Main Wreckage

Figure 2. Main Wreckage 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: EUROCOPTER DEUTSCHLAND GMBH
Registration: N312SA
Model/Series: EC135P1
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Pentastar Aviation Charter
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: MDW, 619 ft msl
Observation Time: 2153 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 13°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 100°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.27 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Departure Point: Hobart, IN
Destination: Chicago, IL

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor, 1 None
Aircraft Fire: In-Flight
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor, 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 41.715278, -87.624444





CHICAGO -- A medical helicopter's three-person crew is in good condition and a patient remains in critical condition after they crash landed on the South Side Saturday night.

The helicopter was transporting an unnamed patient to Christ Hospital when the pilot radioed there was an emergency around 9:15 p.m. Saturday. Shortly after the crew made its mayday call, the pilot made an emergency landing on a grassy area beside the Bishop Ford near 103rd Street.

All three crew members walked away from the crash, and are now listed in good condition. The patient they were transporting was in critical condition prior to the crash, and remains in the same condition.

Part of the Bishop Ford was closed after the crash, causing delays in the area. While the ramp to I-57 has since reopened, the ramp from the interstate remained closed as of 5 p.m. Sunday. Crews were still attempting to clean up the scene and tow the helicopter away Sunday morning.

Witnesses say they thought the helicopter might have had trouble because of fireworks, while investigators are still looking into the official cause. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have now taken over the investigation.

Story and video ➤ https://wgntv.com



CHICAGO — The three-person flight crew and patient injured in Saturday night's medical helicopter crash on Chicago's South Side continue to receive professional medical care and all of their families are receiving support and assistance by specially trained team members, a spokesman for Superior Air said Sunday. 

The Associated Press on Sunday reported the Superior Air helicopter that crashed was headed toward the Gary/Chicago International Airport. 

It's unclear where the flight originated, according to the AP.

However, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the agency has "not released any additional information about a destination," adding that detail is part of the investigation.

Audio posted to www.liveatc.net — an air traffic enthusiasts' audio website — reportedly details a conversation the pilot and an air traffic controller has moments leading up to the crash. 

The audio of the mayday callout begins around 21:35.

Prior to the pilot declaring mayday, it appears he requests to return to Gary airspace, according to the audio. The Times was unable to independently confirm the audio or the pilot's intended destination. 

“Mayday. Mayday. Mayday,” the pilot states.

"What can I do for you, sir?"

"I need to find a place to land," the pilot responds.

"Can we get you any assistance?" the controller said. 

"Not at the moment. We're going down," the pilot says.

"Do you know where you're going to be landing at?"

"In a field," the pilot responds prior to crashing.

The pilot may have saved lives by crashing the helicopter in a grassy area on the South Side, rather than on major interstate highways or a train station nearby, officials said Sunday.

The four people onboard Saturday evening were injured but no one was hurt on the ground.

The Federal Aviation Administration says a Eurocopter 135 air ambulance helicopter crashed around 9:15 p.m. Saturday in a grassy knoll near the intersection of Interstate 94 and Interstate 57 on the city's South Side due to unknown circumstances.

Chicago Fire Deputy District Fire Chief Lynda Turner said the pilot maneuvered the helicopter to land belly-down with all rotors intact. The helicopter was smoking but not on fire, she said.

"The pilot did an excellent job of landing a helicopter that was in an emergency situation," Turner said at a news conference.

Emergency crews from the Chicago Fire Department, Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police arrived on scene and located the Superior helicopter. Four passengers were on board and were found conscious, according to an Illinois State Police news release.

Chicago Fire Deputy District Chief Walter Schroeder says the patient in the helicopter was taken to a hospital in critical condition, while the three crew members onboard were transported in stable condition.

Schroeder says the pilot issued a "mayday" call before the crash, but the exact cause is not yet known. He also commended the pilot for putting the aircraft down in a grassy area away from traffic.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.

Results of the Federal Aviation Administration report will not be made public until the investigation concludes, which could take up to a month, spokesman Tony Molinaro said.

Peter Knudson, a National Transportation Safety Board spokesman, said its investigation will be finished in one to two weeks and the wreckage site will be cleared later Sunday.

In a news release, a spokesman for Superior stated they are working closely with the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigation, along with the FAA and the aircraft manufacturer.

"As with any aviation accident that is under investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board is the only official communicator of accident related information. Health care information regulations and our internal confidentiality policies prohibit any release or discussion of patient information," the spokesman said in the release. 

Story and video ➤ https://www.nwitimes.com




CHICAGO — A pilot may have saved lives by crashing a medical helicopter in a grassy area on the South Side of Chicago rather than on major interstate highways or a train station nearby, officials said Sunday.

The four people onboard Saturday evening were injured but no one was hurt on the ground.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the crash occurred around 9:15 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of three expressways.

The patient in the helicopter was taken to a hospital in critical condition, said Chicago Fire Deputy District Chief Walter Schroeder, while the three crew members onboard were transported in stable condition.

The crash caused a snarl in Chicago traffic, with northbound I-57 and southbound I-94 lanes closed Sunday while the investigation continues.

Schroeder said the pilot issued a “mayday” call before the crash, but the exact cause is not yet known. He commended the pilot for putting the aircraft down in a grassy median away from traffic.

Deputy district fire chief Lynda Turner said the pilot maneuvered the helicopter to land belly-down with all rotors intact. The helicopter was smoking but not on fire, she said.

“The pilot did an excellent job of landing a helicopter that was in an emergency situation,” Turner said at a press conference.

The helicopter was headed toward Gary Airport. It’s unclear where the flight originated.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash. Results of the Federal Aviation Administration report will not be made public until the investigation concludes, which could take up to a month, spokesman Tony Molinaro said. Peter Knudson, a National Transportation Safety Board spokesman, said its investigation will be finished in one to two weeks and that the wreckage site will be cleared later on Sunday.

Story and video ➤ https://fox59.com

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