Sunday, January 27, 2019

Bell 206L-3 LongRanger III, N8227J: Fatal accident occurred January 23, 2019 in Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Hillsboro, Oregon
Bell Helicopters; Fort Worth, Texas
Rolls Royce; Indianapolis, Indiana
Erickson Helicopters Inc; Medford, Oregon

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Ashland, OR
Accident Number: WPR19LA071
Date & Time: 01/23/2019, 1143 PST
Registration: N8227J
Aircraft: Bell 206
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Other Work Use 

On January 23, 2019, at 1143 Pacific standard time, a Bell 206L-3, N8227J, collided with trees while maneuvering near the Siskiyou Summit south of Ashland, Oregon. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured; the helicopter sustained substantial damage. The helicopter was registered to HeliFleet LLC and operated by Erickson Helicopters Inc., under the provision of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Marginal visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area of the accident and a company visual flight rules flight plan had been opened. The local area time-building flight originated from the Medford Airport, Medford, Oregon, at 0920.

The pilot had arrived in Medford the evening of January 21 with the purpose of amassing flight-time during his visit to fulfill Erickson's annual flight-time insurance requirements. On the day prior, he had flown the accident helicopter on two different flights totaling five hours of flight time.

A review of the preliminary radar data disclosed that in the 1.5 hours following departure, the helicopter maneuvered in the local area west of Ashland making numerous turns. Thereafter the helicopter continued south over the Siskiyou Summit and after making various low-level maneuvers, followed Interstate 5 (I-5) toward Hilt, Oregon. Around 1120 the helicopter began to head north and made several turns and slow maneuvers. At 1141, the helicopter continued north and adjoined the I-5 for about 1.5 minutes. At 1142:50 the radar track showed that the helicopter then made several turns until heading east. The last radar return at 1143:30 was located in the immediate vicinity of the accident site and oriented about 600 ft east of the interstate at an elevation of about 4,100 ft.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell
Registration: N8227J
Model/Series: 206 L3
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Erickson Helicopters Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Rotorcraft External Load (133); On-demand Air Taxi (135)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Unknown
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMFR, 1329 ft msl
Observation Time: 1153 PST
Distance from Accident Site: 23 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 7°C / 4°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Unknown
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 900 ft agl
Visibility:  4 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.5 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Departure Point: Medford, OR (OR99)
Destination: Medford, OR (OR99) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 42.066667, -122.596389

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

Timothy Lyons

ASHLAND, Ore.– A fatal helicopter crash in Jackson County is under investigation Thursday as the pilot, the only member in the aircraft, was found deceased and later identified by investigators.

Timothy B. Lyons, 69, was from Port Bolivar, Texas and a member of the Portland-based company Erickson Inc. which also has facilities in Medford. He worked with the company for 19 years and was considered an experienced pilot by an Erickson spokesperson.

In a phone interview with Erickson Chief of Staff, Chris Schuldt, on Wednesday Lyons was performing a routine training exercise something pilots are required to do annually. Lyons was flying an Erickson Bell 206 helicopter as part of the training.

Schuldt said around noon, Lyons was expected to be back but never returned to the airport.

“It was a short flight so noon was about when we identified that the aircraft was overdue,” he said.

Soon after, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue teams were mobilized and within a couple of hours, the wreck was found just southeast of Exit 6 of Interstate 5.

“I’d say it comes as a shock to us,” said Schuldt. “It’s something that hit’s us at Erickson deep to our core because he was a part of our family.”

Before joining Erickson, Lyons served nearly 20 years, from 1973 to 1992, in the U.S. Marine Corps and Army Reserves flying for both. It’s unknown how the crash occurred and with Lyons years of experience, it’s left the company scratching its head.

But in light of the government shutdown, answers may be hard to come by as National Transportation Safety Board deals with lack of funds and furloughed employees.

NBC5 News attempted to reach a member of the NTSB for comment on this investigation but did not receive a callback. Messages could not be left with media personnel as well as no one was available to take calls.

However, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson did respond to an NBC5 News request about the investigation saying investigators were already looking into the accident.

FAA inspectors have already begun investigating this accident. We may send someone to the crash site later today. For more than a week, we have been recalling safety inspectors and others to perform duties to ensure continuous operational safety of the entire national airspace system. These duties include on-call accident investigations.  – Ian Gregor, Communications Manager, FAA Pacific Division.  

Investigators were expected to reach the remote area of the crash Thursday afternoon. But Erickson is still seeking answers for Tim Lyons and his family.

“We reach out to his loved ones and our thoughts and prayers are with them,” said Schuldt.

It’s still unclear what may happen once investigators with the FAA finish their examination. According to a report by CNN, since the shutdown began, 87 accident investigations usually performed by the NTSB, have been delayed.

No word if this crash will face the same fate. An autopsy has yet to be scheduled for the body as well.

Original article can be found here ➤

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