Posted December 9, 2010 11:43 AM
By Peter Webber
Christmas - Tis the season for accidents...
Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean that there won't be any accidents. See below for some selected ‘seasonal’ accident reports, extracted from the Ascend Online General Aviation database…
15/Nov/2010 Hughes 369D N155PH
The helicopter crashed under unknown circumstances while lifting Christmas trees as an underslung load. The pilot suffered serious injuries in the accident which happened in daylight (1330L).
18/Nov/2009 Bell 206BIII N16869
The helicopter was being used to sling load Christmas trees to a nearby drop site and had completed several loads over a period of about 15 minutes. The pilot reported that, as he was manoeuvering to deliver another load, the helicopter began to settle with power. He attempted to recover the situation but without success and the helicopter touched down hard on the rear of its skids. The accident happened in daylight (1030L).
22/Nov/2006 Hughes 369E N1611W
The helicopter was being used to sling load Christmas trees. About five minutes after departure one of the two slings holding the load failed and the trees fell out causing the second sling to fly up into the helicopter's main rotor head. Reportedly both cyclic and collective control was lost. The 'fell to the ground' and came to rest on its right side. The accident happened in daylight (1500L) and in VMC.
25/Nov/1997 Bell UH-1E N8160G
The helicopter was being used to sling load Christmas trees. While positioning between operating sites the helicopter suddenly went out of control. The pilot apparently regained some control and carried out a forced landing. Witnesses later reported seeing a sling line fly away from the helicopter and apparently impact its tail. The subsequent inspection of the recovered long line found small fragments from a rotor blade inbeded in the hook. The NTSB determined the probable cause of the accident to be the pilot's excessive airspeed resulting in the long-line hook impacting the tail rotor.
09/Nov/1997 Bell 206BIII N101LF
The helicopter was being used to sling load Christmas trees, however, as it approached a planned pick up point it suddenly went out of control and crashed into the trees. The helicopter was destroyed by impact and post impact fire. Witnesses reported that as the helicopter decelerated in a nose down attitude, its long line was seen to swing forwards and upwards towards the main rotors. Immediately after this there was a bang and parts of the rotors seemed to break away. A subsequent inspection of the wreckage discovered evidence of a cable strike on the main and tail rotors.
18/Nov/1996 Bell 206BIII N921RB
Whilst sling loading Christmas trees with a 25ft. line, shortly after picking up a load, as the helicopter began a left turn it began to rotate to the left. The helicopter completed 1 to 1.5 turns before impacting the ground and rolling over onto its left side. The point of impact was some 200 to 300ft. from where the helicopter had picked up its load. The accident happened in daylight (1608L) but in poor weather with a 2,500ft. overcast and visibility 4sm. in rain being reported at Salem, 20 miles away. The load weighed 1,050 lb.
19/Nov/1994 FH1100 N4258V
During 'long-line' sling load operations near Yamhill, while the helicopter was hovering waiting for the ground crew to attach the next load (bundles of Christmas trees), the cargo hook became caught up in one of the bundles. The helicopter then moved to one side causing the line to become taught and then suddenly to come free. The line flew up into the helicopter's main rotor damaging the blades. The helicopter entered an uncontrolled descent and crashed. The accident happened in daylight (1325L) and in poor weather with one mile visibility in rain.