Friday, August 03, 2018

Bell 47G-3B, registered to Dakota Rotors and operated by Black Hills Helicopters, N347BH: Accident occurred August 02, 2018 at Crazy Horse Heliport (0SD9), Custer, South Dakota

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

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Custer, SD

Accident Number: CEN18LA306
Date & Time: 08/02/2018, 0928 MDT
Registration: N347BH
Aircraft: BELL 47G 3B
Injuries: 1 Minor, 2 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On August 2, 2018, about 0930 mountain daylight time, a Bell 47G 3B helicopter, N347BH, experienced an engine power anomaly during attempted landing at Crazy Horse Heliport (0SD9), Custer, South Dakota. On approach, the pilot noticed the RPMs had dropped below normal operating range. The pilot increased throttle but was unable to recover RPMs within normal range and the helicopter descended toward the ground. The pilot executed a forced landing in a grassy area on the side of a highway. The helicopter rolled to the right after landing and sustained substantial damage to the main rotor. The commercial-rated pilot and one passenger were not injured. Another passenger received minor injuries. The airplane was registered to Dakota Rotors and operated by Black Hills Helicopters under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, and no flight plan was filed.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BELL
Registration: N347BH
Model/Series: 47G 3B No Series
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Black Hill Helicopter
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Commercial Air Tour (136) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction:
Lowest Ceiling:
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Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor, 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 

Custer County Sheriff's Office

Two pilots escaped injury while a third was transported to Custer Regional Hospital with unknown injuries after a training flight being conducted by the three pilots—all employees of Black Hills Aerial Adventures—went awry this morning around 9:20 a.m.

Custer County Sheriff Marty Mechaley said at around that time the three pilots, aboard a 1962 Bell 47 helicopter, were attempting to land at Black Hills Aerial Adventures’ Custer location just east off Hwy. 16/385 seven miles north of Custer.

The helicopter, being piloted by 32-year-old Chelsea Atwater of Arizona, reportedly began to lose engine RPMs, which the crew was unable to regain, causing the helicopter to subsequently lose power, Mechaley said.

The helicopter came up short of Black Hills Aerial Adventures’ helicopter pad and came down on the southbound lane of the highway, at which time the tail of the helicopter struck a van driving down the highway and broke off. The helicopter then turned over into the ditch on the west side of the highway.

One of the men aboard the helicopter, Eric Bell, 30, of Utah, was uninjured in the accident, as was Atwater. Another 30-year-old crew member from Florida was transported to the hospital. The occupants of the van, who were from Illinois, were uninjured in the accident although their van did sustain damage.

Custer County Sheriff’s Office deputies, the Custer Volunteer Fire Department, Custer Ambulance Service and Custer County Search and Rescue and Custer County Emergency Management all responded to the accident.

The incident is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the The National Transportation Safety Board.

CUSTER COUNTY, S.D. - The latest on a helicopter crash near Black Hills Aerial Adventures.

1:45 p.m.

One pilot is injured and two escaped safely after a training flight ended in a crash involving a van Thursday morning. 

Three employees of Black Hills Aerial Adventures were aboard a 1962 Bell 47 helicopter. In an attempt to land the aircraft, the pilot, Chelsea Atwater, 32, of Arizona, told the Custer County Sheriff's Office the aircraft began to lose engine RPMs "causing the helicopter to subsequently lose power." 

Atwater tried to land on the southbound side of Highway 16/385, just across from the Black Hills Aerial Adventure's location, and struck a van.

Upon striking the van, the tail of the helicopter broke off, and the aircraft fell into the ditch on the west side of the highway. The occupants in the van were uninjured. 

One of the uninjured crew members, Eric Bell, 30, was uninjured. The third crew member was a 30-year-old who was transported to Regional Health Custer Hospital. 

The incident is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and The National Transportation Safety Board.

11:45 a.m.

The Custer County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that three people were on board the helicopter. One person was transported to a hospital.

11:30 a.m.

A Black Hills Aerial Adventures helicopter was involved in a crash during an emergency landing Thursday morning.

The crash happened around 9:20 a.m., very close to their business. Black Hills Aerial Adventures is located along Highway 385, near Crazy Horse Memorial.

The helicopter is a Bell 47, which holds a maximum of three people. There has not been confirmation on the number of people involved.

The Custer County Sheriff's Office is leading the investigation and will release more information shortly. 

Story and video ➤

CUSTER, S.D. (KEVN) - Update: Black Hills Aerial Adventure’s owner Mike Jacobs says there were three company crewmembers on the helicopter which was on a flight to train a new pilot. There were only minor injuries reported.

Jacobs says the Bell 47 helicopter lost power and the pilot made an emergency landing on the road near the company’s helipad on Highway 16/385. He wasn’t sure why the helicopter tipped onto its side.

Usually, a crash scene is not cleared until the Federal Aviation Administration investigation. However, the FAA authorized the company to remove the helicopter from the side of the road.

Original story

An aerial tour company helicopter has reportedly crashed Thursday morning in the Black Hills, near Highway 385 and Crazy Horse Memorial.

The crash happened sometime before 9:45 a.m., between Black Hills Aerial Adventures’ helipad and Crazy Horse.

The company has been contacted and we are waiting for them to release information on the crash.

We do not know the type of helicopter that crashed, the number of people on board or their conditions. Black Hills Aerial Adventures flies four types of helicopters, Bell’s 47 (pilot and passenger) and 206 (carries five people); and Robinson’s R44 Raven (seats three, plus pilot) and R-66 (seats five).

This isn’t the first time a tour helicopter has crashed in the Black Hills.

In Aug. 10, 1999, a Rapid Helicopters Bell 206B JetRanger crashed in Custer State Park, killing the pilot and a New Jersey man. Three other men from New Jersey were injured. The pilot was Darren Mallow of Black Hawk. The men were in South Dakota for that year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Story and video ➤

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