Monday, February 14, 2022

Fire/Smoke (Non-Impact): Bell 206L-4, N469AE; accident occurred February 11, 2022 in Eldorado, Saline County, Illinois
















Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; St. Ann, Missouri
Air Evac Lifeteam; O'Fallon, Missouri

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket

Air Evac Lifeteam

Textron Aviation Finance Corporation


Location: Eldorado, Illinois
Accident Number: CEN22LA122
Date and Time: February 11, 2022, 23:12 Local 
Registration: N469AE
Aircraft: Bell 206
Aircraft Damage: Minor
Defining Event: Fire/smoke (non-impact)
Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air taxi & commuter - Non-scheduled - Air Medical (Unspecified)

Analysis

The pilot reported that the helicopter was about to take off with a flight nurse, paramedic, and a patient onboard when she noticed a flash and flame reflection on the front left windscreen immediately followed by screams and the cabin filling with smoke. The pilot immediately reduced the throttle, pulled the fuel shutoff valve, and applied full rotor brake. The paramedic on board’s flight suit was on fire. The flight nurse on board managed to open the helicopter’s right-side door, unbuckle the paramedic, and pull her from the helicopter. The flight nurse extinguished the flames, called for additional help, and began cutting away the burned flight jacket and flight suit from the paramedic. In the paramedic’s left chest flight suit pocket were keys and a burnt lithium battery. The nurse reported that when she went to remove the battery to prevent further injury to the paramedic, the battery was extremely hot and smoking, and burned her hand. She threw the battery to the ground and continued to render care to the paramedic. Later two burnt lithium batteries lying on the ground next to the helicopter’s left skid were recovered. The pilot reported no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation. The operator’s parent company issued a safety alert to all of its air and ground ambulance companies warning of the dangers of improperly carrying or storing loose lithium and lithium-ion batteries used in personal electronic devices.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
Overheating of two lithium batteries in the paramedic’s flight suit pocket resulting in an explosion and fire that seriously injured the paramedic as the helicopter was about to take off.

Findings

Personnel issues (general) - Cabin crew

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff Fire/smoke (non-impact) (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial 
Age: 58
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land 
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter 
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 2 With waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: March 24, 2021
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 2710 hours (Total, all aircraft), 692 hours (Total, this make and model) 

Other flight crew Information

Certificate: None
Age:
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: 
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Other flight crew Information

Certificate: None
Age:
Airplane Rating(s): None 
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: 
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell 
Registration: N469AE
Model/Series: 206 L4
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2016 
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 52480
Landing Gear Type: 
Skid Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection: February 10, 2022 100 hour 
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: Turbo shaft
Airframe Total Time: 3363.6 Hrs at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rolls Royce
ELT: Installed
Engine Model/Series: 250-C30P
Registered Owner:
Rated Power: 650 Horsepower
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held:
On-demand air taxi (135)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KHSB,396 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 23:15 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 266°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 1900 ft AGL
Visibility 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 3500 ft AGL
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 14 knots / 20 knots 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 340° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 30.07 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 5°C / 0°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: El Dorado, IL
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 23:12 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 None 
Aircraft Damage: Minor
Passenger Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 None
Latitude, Longitude: 37.817509,-88.441959



Location: Eldorado, Illinois
Accident Number: CEN22LA122
Date and Time: February 11, 2022, 23:12 Local
Registration: N469AE
Aircraft: Bell 206
Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air taxi and commuter - Non-scheduled - Air Medical (Unspecified)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell 
Registration: N469AE
Model/Series: 206 L4 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built:
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand air taxi (135)
Operator Designator Code:

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: 
Visibility:
Altimeter Setting: 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: 
Destination:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 None 
Aircraft Damage: Minor
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 None
Latitude, Longitude: 37.817509,-88.441959

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