Thursday, July 04, 2019

AgustaWestland AW139, N32CC: Fatal accident occurred July 04, 2019 in Big Grand Cay, Bahamas

Geoffrey Lee Painter
October 30th, 1966 – July 4th, 2019

Geoff Painter of West Palm Beach, Florida, formerly of Kingston upon Hull, England died tragically on July 4, 2019. He was born October 30, 1966 in Barnstaple, England. He is survived by his wife Debbie, son Mark, mother Janet Painter of Little Weighton, England and cousin Alison Wells of London, England.

Geoff was accepted into the Royal Air Force as an Officer Cadet in 1989 and was stationed at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire, England. On leaving the RAF Geoff worked in financial staff recruitment, before opening his own recruitment agency in Kingston upon Hull which he ran successfully for 10 years. Seeking another career change, in 2003, Geoff decided to return to his real passion, flying, choosing helicopters over fixed wing aircraft. After completing his helicopter flight training in Florida he worked as a helicopter Flight Instructor before establishing Cloud 9 with his business partner in 2005.

Geoff’s first passion was always his family, whom he loved dearly. In addition to his zeal for flying, he also enjoyed clay and game shooting, fast cars and was an ardent England Rugby Union fan. Geoff was a friend to everyone he met and a mentor to many. He was always generous with his time and energy, and encouraged and facilitated the dreams of others, helping them realize their full potential.

Geoff will be greatly missed by all that knew him. 

Blue skies and tail winds forever!

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David Jude
December 2nd, 1962 - July 4th, 2019

David Jude, 56, of Juno Beach, FL, formerly of Kermit, WV departed this life on July 4, 2019. He was born on December 2nd, 1962 in Louisa, KY. He is survived by his mother, Maxine Jude of Kermit, WV; two sisters, Cathy (Greg) Fraley of Inez, KY and Kellie (Mike) Sheehy of Louisville, KY; four children, Davey Jude, Maxi Jude, Wesley Stanley and Reese Varney. Special family members; Harrison (Dora) Jude, Brenda (Kim John) Jude McCallister, Bryan (Denise) Jude, Jennifer (Odell) Sartin, Auburn Hensley and Bogey along with a host of special nieces, nephews, and friends. He was preceded in death by his father, John David Jude. 

David was one unique individual. To those who knew him, he lived more than nine lives. He started out at an early age as a truck driver, moving on to a successful business owner in Kermit, WV, USAR Hooter’s Cup race car driver and Cloud 9 business partner. His current endeavors included project manager, helicopter and seaplane pilot for the Cline Group, where he was also a loyal, trusted confidant. It could be said that he was the glue that held everything together, both business and personal. 

He was truly extraordinary with his charismatic, but direct personality. He was genuine in every sense of the word. He was kind and always eager to help others. Anyone who met David, knew exactly where they stood with him. If he was your friend, he was devoted to your best interests. 

David was an avid golfer and cyclist, always full of adventure. While living a life that most envy, he never forgot his West Virginia roots. Above all, David’s family fulfilled his true happiness. His family held his heart. It is without uncertainty, that he will be forever remembered. David will be missed by everyone that had the opportunity and pleasure of knowing him.

Funeral services will be held at the Roy F. Collier Community Center in Inez, Kentucky on Monday, July 15, 2019 at 1:00pm with visitation starting at 11:00am. Burial will follow at the Jude Family Cemetery in East Kermit, WV with pallbearers; Davey Jude, Daniel Ortiz, Ardie Jenkins, Jr. Hanshaw, O’Dell Sartin, Steve Dewese, Duane Blankenship, Don Rothrock, Shawn Dewese, Buddy Sartin and Doug Kirk. Friends may visit at the Callaham Funeral Home on Sunday from 2:00-8:00pm. Arrangements are under the direction of the Callaham Funeral Home, Inez, KY. 

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration Office of Accident Investigation; Washington, District of Columbia
Leonardo Helicopters; Cascina Costa
Pratt & Whitney Canada; Longueuil, Quebec 
Air Accident Investigation Department; Nassau New Providence
Transportation Safety Board of Canada; Ontario 
European Aviation Safety Agency; Cologne 
Agenzia Nazionale per la Sicurezza del Volo

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Challenger Management LLC

Location: Big Grand Cay, Bahamas
Accident Number: ERA19FA210
Date & Time: 07/04/2019, 0154 EDT
Registration: N32CC
Aircraft: Agusta AW139
Injuries: 7 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 4, 2019, about 0154 eastern daylight time, an Agusta AW139, N32CC, owned and operated by Challenger Management LLC, was substantially damaged when it impacted the Atlantic Ocean near Big Grand Cay, Abaco, Bahamas. The commercial pilot, airline transport pilot rated copilot, and five passengers were fatally injured. The helicopter was being operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for a flight from Walker's Cay Airport (MYAW), Walker's Cay, Bahamas, to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The flight departed from a concrete pad at Big Grand Cay, which was located about 5 nautical miles (nm) southeast from MYAW, about 1 minute prior to the accident.

The purpose of the accident flight was to transport two of the passengers to FLL for medical treatment.

The helicopter departed from Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), West Palm Beach, Florida, about 0057, and a witness reported that it landed on the concrete pad at Big Grand Cay between 0130 and 0145. After landing, the helicopter remained on the ground with the engines operating, while the passengers boarded. During the subsequent takeoff to the east, the witness reported that the helicopter climbed to about 30 to 40 ft and accelerated while in a nose-down attitude. He did not notice anything unusual while he observed the helicopter depart.

Another witness, who was located about 1.6 nm southwest of the accident site reported seeing the helicopter lift off and climb to between 40 and 50 ft above ground level; then shortly thereafter, he noted blue and white lights spinning to the left at a rate of about 1 to 2 seconds between rotations while descending. He estimated that the helicopter rotated to the left three to four times. He then heard a "whoosh whoosh whoosh" sound, and lost sight of the helicopter, which was followed by the sound of an impact. The witness reported what he had heard to the "caregiver" of Big Grand Cay. The witness went out on his boat about 0205 and used spotlights to search the area where he thought the helicopter had crashed but was unable to locate it.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an alert notice for the overdue flight about 1521. The helicopter was subsequently located by local residents sometime between 1600 and 1700, in about 16 ft of water about 1.2 nm north-northeast of the departure point.

The helicopter was found inverted and the tailboom was separated from the aft fuselage and was recovered in multiple pieces. All five main rotor blades were separated but recovered. The tail rotor assembly, which was also separated was subsequently recovered. All four tail rotor blades were separated, and one tail rotor blade was not recovered. The recovered wreckage was retained for further examination, to include examination of the airframe, engines, flight controls, seats and restraints.

The helicopter was equipped with a multi-purpose flight recorder, an enhanced ground proximity warning system and several additional components capable of storing non-volatile memory, which were retained for evaluation and data download.

The accident investigation was initially under the jurisdiction of the Air Accident Investigation Department (AAID) of the Bahamas. On July 6, 2019, in accordance with Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, the AAID requested delegation of the accident investigation to the NTSB, which the NTSB accepted on July 8, 2019. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Agusta
Registration: N32CC
Model/Series: AW139 No Series
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Challenger Management LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night/Dark
Observation Facility, Elevation: MYGF, 8 ft msl
Observation Time: 2000 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 46 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / 25°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2500 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 160°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 25000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.95 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Big Grand Cay, FN
Destination: Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) 

Employees oversee the arrival of the bodies of four women and three men at the airport in Nassau, Bahamas.

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 5 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 7 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 27.238056, -78.304444


  1. Discussion on PPRuNe:


  3. No one is immune to the risk of flight.

  4. If indeed helicopter lost one of its tail rotors this would be the second from this manufacture in the last year .
    Sure sounds like it lost one of its tail blades. Very sad