Sunday, August 19, 2018

Low Altitude Operation/Event: Bell 206, N8052G; accident occurred August 18, 2018 in Battle Mountain, Lander County, Nevada

View of thermal damaged helicopter.
Federal Aviation Administration

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Reno, Nevada

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Battle Mountain, NV
Accident Number: GAA18CA512
Date & Time: 08/18/2018, 1345 PDT
Registration: N8052G
Aircraft: Bell 206
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Low altitude operation/event
Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Aerial Observation 

The helicopter pilot reported that while climbing out of a canyon at 30 knots indicated airspeed, about 50 ft above the ground, he felt a "hard vibration" in the cyclic and collective controls. He then saw that the airspeed gauge was reading zero knots and he felt the helicopter was being pushed down. The torque indicator rose to 120% without any cyclic and collective control input. He applied right cyclic, lowered the collective, applied right pedal to counter the torque, and turned the helicopter downslope and into the wind. He applied forward cyclic to better match the downslope of the terrain and raised collective, but the helicopter impacted terrain. The skids impacted the ground first followed by the main rotor blades. The helicopter rotated 180º to the right before coming to rest downhill, on its right side. Shortly after, a post impact fire ensued.

The helicopter was destroyed during the postimpact fire.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot reported that the winds were gusting up to 30 knots in the canyon, "changing direction every minute or so." 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 43, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None 
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/06/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 4060 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1500 hours (Total, this make and model), 3975 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell
Registration: N8052G
Model/Series: 206 B
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1989
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 4050
Landing Gear Type: High Skid
Seats: 5
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3350 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Rolls Royce
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 250-C20R
Registered Owner: El Aero Services Llc
Rated Power: hp
Operator: El Aero Services Llc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KBAM, 4532 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 11 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2056 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 192°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  6 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts:
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.2 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 34°C / -5°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: Moderate - Haze; No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Battle Mountain, NV (BAM)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: Battle Mountain, NV (BAM)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1312 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 None
Latitude, Longitude: 40.785833, -116.843333 (est)

Three incidents took place in Lander County on Saturday, Aug. 18: A helicopter crash involving employees with the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), the Sheep Creek Fire, and a burn-over of two firefighters responding to the fire.

The helicopter crash took place around 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 18. It was a contract helicopter carrying a pilot and two NDOW biologists on a wildlife survey flight.

The pilot and one of the biologists had minor injuries, and the other biologist had injuries to their neck and back. All three are in good condition and the crash is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

“We cannot stress enough the importance of safety with our employees and the public, and we are grateful everyone on the flight is safe,” said NDOW Director Tony Wasley.

Shortly after the crash, the Sheep Creek Fire was reported approximately 15 miles north of Battle Mountain. Crews from the Battle Mountain Volunteer Fire Department and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) responded to the fire.

During the response, an engine from the Battle Mountain VFD was burned over injuring two firefighters. The firefighters were taken to a burn center and information on their status will be provided when it becomes available.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the firefighters, their families and the entire community," said Lander County Manager Keith Westengard. "Lander County is a tight knit community and many are affected by this tragedy."

The Sheep Creek fire is currently at 7,000 acres and approximately five percent containment, and the cause remains under investigation. More information about the fire can be found in Inciweb at

“This situation highlights the dangers faced by all partners and agencies who assist with battling wildfires,” said acting BLM Nevada State Director Mike Courtney. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the firefighters and their families as they deal with the injuries and recovery.”

“The Nevada Department of Wildlife will also continue to keep the injured firefighters and their families in our thoughts and prayers,” added Wasley.

Original article can be found here ➤

The Federal Aviation Administration tells us that a Bell B206 helicopter crashed around 2 p.m. about 15 miles north of Battle Mountain on Saturday.

Authorities say that three people were onboard. BLM officials say that two of them are employees of the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW).

The pilot and one of the NDOW biologists suffered minor injuries and the other biologist has injuries to their neck and back. 

The cause of the crash is unknown at this time.

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

The BLM says that there was a wildfire reported also 15 miles north of Battle Mountain, however, at this time it is unknown if the two are connected.

During the response, an engine from the Battle Mountain Volunteer Fire Department was burned over injuring two firefighters. They are now at a burn center, but their status is unknown. 

“This situation highlights the dangers faced by all partners and agencies who assist with battling wildfires,” said acting BLM Nevada State Director Mike Courtney.

They are calling this the Sheep Creek fire. It's currently sitting at 7,000 acres and 5% contained. 

They estimate to have it fully contained by August 23rd.

Original article can be found here ➤

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