Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Airbus Helicopters H125 (AS350 B3e), registered to Chinilna Equipment LLC and operated by a private individual, N907PL: Fatal accident occurred September 28, 2018 in Gustavus, Alaska

Joshua Michael Pepperd
 (1975 - 2018) 

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

Additional Participating Entities:  

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Juneau, Alaska
Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses; Le Bourget, FN
Airbus Helicopters; Grand Prairie, Texas
Safran Helicopter Engines; Grand Prairie, Texas

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


Location: Gustavus, AK
Accident Number: CEN18FA391
Date & Time: 09/28/2018, 1055 AKD
Registration: N907PL
Injuries: 3 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 28, 2018, about 1055 Alaska daylight time, an Airbus Helicopters AS350-B3e, impacted shallow water on a beach in Glacier Bay National Park about 60 miles northwest of Gustavus, Alaska. The co-pilot was fatally injured, one passenger sustained serious injuries, and the pilot and one other passenger are missing. The helicopter was registered to Chinilna Equipment LLC and operated by a private individual under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan had been filed. The flight departed from the Juneau International Airport (JNU) Juneau, Alaska, and was en route to Yakutat Airport (YAK), Yakutat, Alaska.

According to the family members, the purpose of the trip was to deliver the helicopter from the Airbus Helicopters factory in Grand Prairie, TX, to Anchorage, AK. The left seat pilot was onboard for insurance coverage purposes. The owner/pilot planned to drop off the left seat pilot in Wasilla, AK, then proceed to Anchorage.

The accident flight departed Juneau and proceeded west over the mountains 3,000 to 4,000 ft above ground level (agl) and then north along the coast line about 500 to 700 ft agl. The last recorded GPS point was 8.5 nautical miles (nm) southeast of the accident site and 500 ft agl while flying above the beach.

In a post-accident interview, the surviving passenger stated that the pilot "reached down and rolled the throttle off." He added that the pilot left the collective up and the helicopter entered a free fall from about 500 ft agl, then about 30 ft agl he increased the throttle again. He felt helicopter impact the water and noticed water splash in the cabin, then went unconscious.

The helicopter impacted the water and came to rest partially embedded in the sand (figure 1). The investigative team arrived at the accident site about 1100 on September 30, 2018, to photo document the accident site and locate the Appareo Vision 1000 image recording device, the engine data recorder, and digital engine control unit; they were all recovered and transported to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory in Washington, DC, for examination and download.

Figure 1 – Accident site, main wreckage

The tailboom, tail rotor assembly, and most of the instrument panel were not found. A significant amount of wreckage had washed ashore and was found on the beach south of the main wreckage. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for a thorough post-accident examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information


Registration: N907PL
Model/Series: AS350 B3
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: CSP, 89 ft msl
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 39 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Juneau, AK (JNU)
Destination: Yakutat, AK (YAK)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal

Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 58.595278, -137.594444 (est)

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

Joshua Michael Pepperd, 42, went to be with the Lord on Sept. 28, 2018, in a helicopter crash in Southeast Alaska. Josh was a follower of Christ, husband, father, son, grandson, uncle, pilot, point guard, hunter and friend to all of us. Born on Oct. 26, 1975, in Anchorage, Alaska, to Greg and Patti Pepperd, he was a 1994 graduate of Wasilla High and a 1999 graduate of Boise State University, where he earned an engineering degree in construction management. While attending Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, Josh met his wife Lindsay Jamison. They married in 1997 and started a beautiful adventure. Josh began his career in construction in 1994 as a Union Laborer. Josh began his career at Davis Constructors and Engineers Inc. as an intern during summer breaks from college. In June 1999, Josh started full time at Davis and remained there for the entirety of his career. Josh was instrumental in founding Mass Excavation Inc., a sister company to Davis. Both Davis and Mass X had the honor of Josha's leadership as President and mentor for over a decade. There was never a dull moment in Josh's life. Escapes with his family at the cabin or ranch, hiking to the tops of mountains with his children and constructing projects with excellence were his passions.

Josh had a deep faith in Christ and it was evident to all who knew him. His Christianity was demonstrated through his actions, character, integrity and passions. Josh believed God did not put us on this earth to do nothing against the evils on this planet that go against His nature. He felt strongly that his resources belonged to God, they are provided by His grace and to be used for His glory. He deeply loved his family. He impressed upon them to take the Lord's Word into their hearts, thoughts and deeds. He talked to them about God when they sat at home and when they walked together, when they prepared to lie down and when they got up in the morning (Josh's house is full of scriptures and they are even written on his doorframes).

He is survived by his wife, Lindsay, a bun in the oven, their expected daughter; his children, Aidan, Annika, Abigail and Ava; his parents, Greg and Patti Pepperd; his grandmother, Donna Rhett, all of Wasilla, Alaska; his brothers and sister, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews and countless friends.

He entered heaven with his beloved son, Andrew.

A memorial service will be held at Anchorage Bible Fellowship on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, at 3 p.m.


Andrew Michael Pepperd, 11, passed away in a helicopter crash in Southeast Alaska on Sept. 28, 2018. Andrew and his Father Josh entered the Lord's Kingdom together. Andrew was born March 4, 2007, in Anchorage, Alaska to Josh and Lindsay Pepperd. He was home educated, and often accompanied his father to work. His parents taught him diligently to walk in the path of righteous. Andrew was an avid outdoorsman, who loved to hunt, fish, camp and enjoy extended trips to the cabin with his family. He had a hilarious imagination and his belly laugh was infectious. He loved his brothers and sisters and could not wait to meet the newest addition to the family. 

He is survived by his mother Lindsay, his brother and sisters: Aidan, Annika, Abigail, Ava, and the bun in the oven, his grandparents: Greg and Patti Pepperd, great grandmother Donna Rhett all of Wasilla, Alaska, Rob and Linda Jamison of Nampa, Idaho, numerous aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. 

A memorial service will be held at Anchorage Bible Fellowship on Friday October 12, 2018, at 3 p.m.


The Pepperds had just purchased the helicopter new. Airbus Helicopters had posted this photo on the company’s Facebook page when the family took possession on September 26th in Texas.

Three people are missing after a brand new helicopter went down in the water between Juneau and Yakutat.

Among those missing are Josh Pepperd, president and CEO of Davis Constructors and Engineers.

Pepperd’s two sons were on the plane, and one of them has been found alive. In addition to the father and son who are missing, David King, a helicopter pilot who owns Last Frontier Air Ventures in Palmer, was on board.

The Coast Guard rescued 14-year-old Aiden Pepperd on Friday near Lituya Bay, and today is searching for the other three people.

Aiden was flown to Sitka by a Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, where he was treated for mild hypothermia, according to the Coast Guard press release. He was later transferred to an Anchorage hospital where he is in intensive care with internal injuries.

A Jayhawk helicopter crew is combing the area along with a Civil Air Patrol aircraft out of Juneau, according to the USCG report. Joining the search is the Coast Guard Cutter Bailey Barco, which is also has a small boat crew searching the shoreline.

Two handlers with canines from the Southeast Alaska Dogs for Ground Search were brought in via Coast Guard helicopter but were not able to locate any sign of the helicopter’s passengers.

A C-130 aircraft crew with the 211th Rescue Squadron for Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Wing out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage was also on scene searching.

The helicopter crashed in the water approximately 100 yards from the shoreline of a beach about three miles east of Lituya Bay.The Coast Guard located sections of the crashed helicopter fuselage, engine, rotor head, and front and rear seats washed up on the beach today but not any sign of the passengers. 

The Coast Guard 17th District command center in Juneau initially received an overdue aircraft alert at about 6:30 pm Friday from the Juneau Flight Service Station.

The alert stated a private helicopter with four people aboard was expected to arrive in Yakutat Friday, but had not arrived.

A Jayhawk helicopter left Sitka at 8:15 pm and went to the last known signal location from the helicopter’s GPS, and then landed landed on the beach about three miles east of Lituya Bay, where the crew’s rescue swimmer located the boy.

“We did not locate any other survivors tonight but the Coast Guard and others will conduct a thorough search Saturday,” said Lt. Kellen Browne, helicopter co-pilot for Friday’s rescue.

Two adults and two adolescents were aboard the crashed helicopter, which had just been purchased new from the factory in Texas. The pilot was said to have 40 years of flying experience, including Alaska flight time in both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.

The itinerary for the single-engine helicopter was from Grand Prairie, Texas to Wasilla. 

Josh Pepperd is one of the top three contributors to the Dunleavy for Alaska political group that operates separately from the campaign. The other top contributors to that group, chaired by Terre Gales, are Francis Dunleavy, Bob Penney, and Scott Hawkins.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://mustreadalaska.com

Josh Pepperd, the president and owner of Davis Constructors, is missing from a helicopter that crashed Friday evening near Yakutat.

The U.S. Coast Guard has called off a two-day search for three people missing from the wreckage of a helicopter that crashed in Southeast Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

Josh Pepperd, 42, the president of Anchorage's Davis Constructors and Engineers, his 11-year-old son Andrew and Palmer helicopter piloting company owner David King, 53, are presumed dead in the crash.

The Coast Guard, the Alaska Air National Guard and Civil Air Patrol searched 788 square miles over more than 36 hours, according to Nate Littlejohn, a Coast Guard spokesman.

With no signs that the three had survived the crash, the search was suspended at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, according to the Coast Guard.

The new Airbus helicopter crashed sometime Friday in a tidal zone near Lituya Bay, a fjord with a narrow entrance situated 120 miles northwest of Juneau in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Some pieces of wreckage, including parts of the engine and seats, washed up on the shore.

Coast Guard personnel rescued Pepperd's older son Aiden, 14, from a beach about 3 miles from Lituya Bay on the Gulf of Alaska coast, according to a press release from Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

He is being treated at an Anchorage hospital, according to the Coast Guard.

Pepperd is the president of Davis Constructors and Engineering, a major Alaska construction company headquartered in Anchorage. The company was responsible for a recent expansion of the Anchorage Museum, as well as other major projects around the state. He has also been a major donor to conservative Alaska political candidates and causes.

Pepperd and his sons were bringing the Airbus H125 helicopter to Alaska after picking it up at an Airbus facility in Grand Prairie, Texas. They were expected to arrive in Yakutat on Friday night but never made it.

The helicopter is "brand-new, top of the line," said Clint Johnson, the National Transportation Safety Board's Alaska chief.

It's not clear whether Pepperd had purchased the helicopter for business or for personal use, or who was piloting it at the time of the crash.

NTSB investigators were at the scene Sunday trying to find and remove recording equipment from the wreckage of the helicopter before it is damaged by saltwater.

"This helicopter had the latest and greatest technology that's out there," Johnson said.

If recovered, Johnson said, the recording equipment "can give us a chance to see what happened in the last moment of this flight."

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.adn.com

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