Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Bell 206L-3 LongRanger III, N65PJ: Fatal accident occurred June 02, 2020 in Fairfield, Solano County, California

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Sacramento, California
Pacific Gas and Electric; Sacramento, California
PJ Helicopters Inc; Red Bluff, California
Wilson Construction; Canby, Oregon


Location: Fairfield, CA 
Accident Number: WPR20LA163
Date & Time: 06/02/2020, 1327 PDT
Registration: N65PJ
Aircraft: Bell 206
Injuries: 3 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 133: Rotorcraft Ext. Load 

On June 2, 2020, at 1327 Pacific daylight time, a Bell 206L3 Helicopter, N65PJ, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Fairfield, California. The pilot and 2 passengers were fatally injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 133, rotorcraft external load (Human External Cargo (HEC)) operation.

The helicopter was operated by PJ Helicopters under contract from Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) to perform power line repair work.

According to PG&E, the linemen had completed work for the day and had been picked up by the pilot. The lineman would have been connected to an external cable and airlifted back to the landing zone (LZ). During transition to forward flight, the helicopter contacted the lower power line, and impacted the ground.

A witness to the accident reported that after the helicopter impacted the power line, it impacted the ground and rolled downhill. The helicopter came to rest in a ravine.

The helicopter was recovered to a secure facility for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell
Registration: N65PJ
Model/Series: 206 L3
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: P J Helicopters Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Rotorcraft External Load (133)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: KVCB, 109 ft msl
Observation Time: 1253 PDT
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 15°C / 11°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.95 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Fairfield, CA
Destination: Fairfield, CA

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 38.309722, -122.033889 (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.

"It is with great sadness this fundraiser is being created. On June 2, 2020 we lost three of our own to a workplace helicopter crash. IBEW Local 769 Journeyman Lineman Jimmy Wasdin age 41, IBEW Local 1245 Apprentice Lineman Travis Shull age 29 and PJ helicopter pilot Roscoe Bryan Gray age 38.  This GoFundMe is created to help offset funeral costs and any unexpected expenses that the family’s may experience during these tragic times. Thank you for your prayers, your donations and your support." https://www.gofundme.com

Travis James Shull
September 12, 1990 - June 2, 2020

A celebration of life will be held for Travis James Shull on Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 1 p.m. at the Golden Beaver Distillery 13464 Brown Valley Rd. Chico, California 95973.

Travis passed away on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 in Solano County as the result of a work-related accident.

He was born September 12, 1990 in Chico. Travis grew up playing baseball, and riding BMX bikes with his friends. In 2008 Travis graduated from Pleasant Valley High School. After high school Travis worked as an apprentice aircraft mechanic at Chico Airport. He later graduated from the Northwest Lineman College in Oroville in 2015. From 2015 to present he was a member of the IBEW Local 1245.

In 2018 he interviewed and was accepted into the California – Nevada Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee and was ranked 12th out of 2000+ applicants. Travis’ work ethic was unparalleled. He was very passionate about linework and widely respected by his lineman brothers. Travis was affectionately called “the walking spec book” by his coworkers because of his attention to detail and concern for the safety of his crew.

On his days off he enjoyed spending time with his dog Grizzly, friends, and family. Travis especially loved being outdoors – camping, mountain biking and playing disc golf.

Travis was a loyal and dedicated brother and boyfriend.

He is survived by his girlfriend, Jasmine MacDonald; brothers, James Lehane and Nils Koenig; Aunts: Kathy Briggs (Gaylord) of Mt. Shasta, Nancy Jordan (Dennis) of Clayton, Debbie Judd (Wayne) of Paradise; and Uncle, Tom Shull (Debbie) of San Ramon.


The Solano County Coroner released the names of the three men, all PG&E contractors, who died in a helicopter crash just west of Vacaville Tuesday afternoon.

They were identified as Travis Shull, 29, of Chico; Jimmy Wasdin, 41, residence unknown; and the pilot, Roscoe Gray, 38, of Sonora.

A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, D.C., Peter Knudson, told The Reporter that Federal Aviation Administration investigators on Wednesday were at the site, off Blue Mountain Road, taking photographs.

Knudson also said the helicopter, from PJ Helicopters Inc., was “set to be removed from the location to a secure location,” but he was unsure exactly where.

Afterward, an NTSB investigator will travel to the storage site, the date to be determined, he added.

A preliminary report that will “lay out the facts and circumstances, but not the cause,” and will be released in the coming weeks, about mid-June, if not sooner, noted Knudson.

A full-investigation report, revealing the cause of the 1:27 p.m. crash, among other things, will take one to two years, he said.

Knudson said the helicopter struck a power line, severing it, and the aircraft descended, then “struck the top of the hill and came to rest in a ravine,” touching off a fire.

Will Powers, a spokesman for CAL FIRE in its Santa Rosa office, said the crash caused a seven-acre fire.

A spokeswoman for PG&E on Wednesday recounted some of the crash details, but did not reveal what the pilot and the others were doing at the time of the crash.

Brandi Merlo said the helicopter struck a 115,000-kilovolt transmission line. At 3 p.m. a CAL FIRE employee requested that power be shut off to protect firefighters. The outage affected some 38,000 customers in the area, including parts of Fairfield and Suisun City. Power was restored to all customers at 8:21 p.m., Merlo noted.

Acknowledging the deaths of the contractors, she added, “It’s with a heavy heart that we share this information.”

An Internet search revealed that PJ Helicopters is a family-owned, precision helicopter lift service serving industries nationwide since 1970, with corporate offices in Red Bluff.


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