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N130HS accident description

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Tail numberN130HS
Accident dateNovember 20, 2005
Aircraft typeEurocopter France EC 130 B4
LocationHomestead, FL
Near 25.448333 N, -80.413056 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On November 20, 2005, about 2048 eastern standard time, an Aerospatiale AS-350B (AS-350B) helicopter, N264BH, registered to and operated by Biscayne Helicopters, Inc., as a 14 CFR Part 91 positioning flight, and a Eurocopter France EC 130 B4 (EC 130 B4) helicopter, N130HS, registered to Wells Fargo Bank Northwest, and operated by HeliFlight, Inc., dba HelicopterShuttle.com, also as a 14 CFR Part 91 positioning flight, collided in-flight while both helicopters were on approach to land at Motorsports Complex VIP Heliport (Speedway Heliport), Homestead, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for either flight. Both helicopters were substantially damaged, and the commercial-rated pilot, the sole occupant of the AS-350B helicopter was not injured. The commercial-rated pilot, the sole occupant of the EC 130 B4 helicopter was fatally injured. The AS-350B flight originated about 2043, from Ocean Reef Club Airport, Key Largo, Florida. The EC 130 B4 flight originated about 2038, from Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport (KTMB), Miami, Florida.

A Ford 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series car race had previously ended at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Both helicopters were in-bound to pick-up passengers at the Speedway Heliport.

According to a Memorandum from the air traffic manager of KTMB Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT), at 2037:30, the pilot of the EC 130B4 helicopter contacted the facility on frequency 134.6 mHz and requested an "Echo" departure. The flight was cleared for takeoff and at 2039:31, the pilot requested frequency change to "Homestead Tower."

According to a transcription of communications with Homestead Air Reserve Base (KHST) ATCT for the frequency 133.45 mHz, at 2039:55, the pilot of the EC 130B4 helicopter established contact and advised the controller that his flight was 6 miles to the north, and inbound for landing at the Speedway Heliport. The controller acknowledged that transmission and advised the pilot "Watch for two others inbound from the north" and also provided an altimeter setting. The pilot responded, "Oh I got him." At 2042:42, the pilot of the AS-350B helicopter contacted the KHST controller and advised that the flight was "off Ocean Reef back to the track." The controller advised the pilot to proceed, "Direct to the track" and provided the altimeter setting, which the pilot acknowledged. At 2043:42, the pilot of the EC 130 B4 requested frequency change to the track, to which the controller responded, "Yes sir, zero hotel sierra. Frequency change approved, thirty four three." The pilot correctly repeated the frequency. There were no further recorded transmissions from the pilot of the EC 130 B4 helicopter. At 2044:26, the controller advised the pilot of the AS-350B helicopter, "and uh six four bravo hotel, there is about four of them ahead of you. Contact track control." The pilot acknowledged that transmission. There were no further recorded transmissions from the pilot of the AS-350B helicopter.

The AS-350B pilot stated that he contacted "race control" on frequency 134.3 mHz, and advised that he was 2 nautical miles southeast of the Speedway Heliport, inbound. He was advised to report when his flight was 1 mile south of the Speedway Heliport, which he complied with. He was advised to follow an Agusta 109 helicopter "to the pad." The Agusta 109 helicopter at the time of his radio call was located just north of the westernmost pad at the Speedway Heliport, and was in a 5-foot hover. He (AS-350B pilot) was on a modified right base for landing to the east at the Speedway Heliport, and turned onto final where, " shortly after that (I am not sure exactly how long) I felt a shudder and then the aircraft started to vibrate significantly (I do not remember my altitude or airspeed at that time)." He reported hearing the president of Biscayne Helicopters, Inc., advise over the frequency that there had been a midair collision. He performed a run-on landing on grass west of the helipads, and while the helicopter started to slow, it began turning and listing to the left. He braced when he saw the main rotor blades contacting the ground, and when they slowed, he executed the "emergency shutdown procedures." He then exited the helicopter from the right main cabin door. He further reported he does not recall hearing "a radio transmission from the other aircraft involved in the accident. Nor, do I remember seeing any aircraft in the landing pattern, except SK aircraft in the landing area." He also reported the nearby area was well lit, and he saw a lot of blinking lights from police cars that were located on a road that paralleled the canal south of the Speedway Heliport. At the time of the accident he had on the strobe lights, position lights, instrument lights, and search lights.

The individual who was located at ground level at the Speedway Heliport and was handling ground-to-air communications at the time of the accident reported he had been on that position for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, and he was providing "VFR advisory service" to inbound helicopters. He was communicating with inbound and departing helicopters on frequency 134.3 mHz. The pilots of both helicopters announced on that frequency they were inbound to land at the Speedway Heliport. The pilot of the EC 130 B4 helicopter established contact with him 2 times, though he (the individual providing VFR advisory service) did not recall hearing the EC 130 B4 pilot provide a position report on initial contact. He (individual providing VFR advisory service) stated that he had visual contact with the AS-350B helicopter, but he never had visual contact by landing or strobe light with the EC 130 B4 helicopter, which was on a straight-in approach landing to the east. The AS-350B helicopter was assigned to the west side of the Speedway Heliport area, and the EC 130 B4 helicopter was assigned to the West pad, which was confirmed by the pilot. Approximately 2 minutes before the collision "tiny rockets" were launched from a nearby parking lot southwest of the Speedway Heliport.

The individual providing VFR advisory service further reported he noticed the AS-350B helicopter was on a right base and noted an obscuration, which either could have been road dust, or smoke from the previously launched "tiny rockets." He didn't notice the obscuration until the collision; the AS-350B helicopter was in a right turn when the collision occurred. He did not see the EC 130 B4 helicopter until it was descending to the ground, nor did he recall seeing any lights from it. The sequence for landing was the AS-350B, followed by the EC 130 B4. His impression was that the EC 130 B4 helicopter was "farther away." When on an east operation, traffic will do a straight-in approach to the helipad; "long final approaches are normal." He also stated that he is able to see helicopters 2-3 deep lined up for final approach to the Speedway Heliport based on seeing landing lights. He was generally/typically looking for strobe or landing lights to visually observe inbound helicopters. At the time of the collision, he was only in contact with the pilots of the accident helicopters; there was no communication difficulty and he was not distracted by other duties. Additionally, helicopters were located on the east and center pads at the Heliport; both were preparing to depart.

Numerous witnesses reported seeing the AS-350B helicopter, which was observed flying southwest of the Speedway Heliport, turn to the east. Simultaneously, the EC 130 B4 helicopter was flying in an easterly direction, and was located west of the Speedway Heliport. The witnesses reported the AS-350B helicopter was slightly higher and to the right of the EC 130 B4 helicopter, and the AS-350B helicopter appeared to be flying at a faster speed than the EC 130 B4 helicopter. One witness reported that the AS-350B helicopter was "coming in hard" with respect to speed and vertical descent rate, while another witness reported that the AS-350B helicopter overtook the EC 130 B4 helicopter, and appeared to be flying at twice the speed of the EC 130 B4 helicopter. Following the collision, the EC 130 B4 helicopter descended almost immediately, while the AS-350B helicopter flew in an easterly direction and landed at the Speedway Heliport.

Bystanders responded to both accident sites and offered assistance or first aid. The president of the company operating the AS-350B helicopter, who was located at a tent where the ground-to-air communications were occurring, reported first responding to the AS-350B helicopter. When he arrived the pilot appeared to be all right, and was exiting the helicopter. He then went to the EC 130 B4 helicopter and noticed lights on the center console, and one landing light blinded him. A person reporting to be a doctor arrived and began rendering first aid.

The NTSB Operational Factors Division located in Washington, D.C., received and processed recorded radar data from FAA Miami International Airport Air Traffic Control Tower. A review of NTSB prepared plots of radar targets revealed radar targets near each respective departure airport for each helicopter at about the approximate time of departure. The radar plots indicate an aircraft on transponder code 1200 was noted approximately 6 miles northwest of the Ocean Reef Club Airport, proceeding in a northwesterly direction towards the vicinity of the Speedway Heliport. The radar plots also indicate an aircraft on transponder code 1200 east of the KTMB Airport, proceeding east then south towards the vicinity of the Speedway Heliport, where both presumed targets descended below radar coverage.

Witnesses reported that at the time of the accident, an undetermined number of police cars with their overhead lights flashing were located on S.W. 344th Street, which is an east/west oriented street located south of the Speedway Heliport.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot of the AS-350B helicopter seated in the right seat holds an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane multiengine land rating. He also holds a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and rotorcraft helicopter ratings, last issued on December 17, 2001. He was issued a first-class medical certificate on February 15, 2005, with a restriction, "holder shall wear corrective lenses while exercising the privileges of his/her airman certificate."

Biscayne Helicopters, Inc., previously employed the pilot of the AS-350B helicopter from June 1987, to December 1989, and also in various capacities from 1996, to 1999. He resumed flying with Biscayne Helicopters, Inc., as a contract pilot on October 11, 2005. With respect to the accident make and model helicopter, he completed his aircraft ground training, which included general subjects, aircraft systems, and systems integration on October 12, 2005. A review of his "Flight Training Record" forms, "Crewmember Training Record" form, and "Certificate of Flight Training" form revealed he flew with 2 different instructors on separate flights in the accident helicopter for his initial pilot-in-command training on November 3, 2005. The total right seat hours "Block-to-Block" time was recorded to be 4.5 hours; the "Flight Grade" of both was listed as satisfactory. On November 6, 2005, he received a "night check" in the accident helicopter. A "Flight Grade" was not listed; however, no columns other than the "Proficient" column were checked. The "Crewmember Training Record" form indicates that with respect to the position "PIC" and the aircraft type "AS350", on November 9, 2005, he "successfully completed the training requirements specified by the FAA-approved training program." A review of an undated resume with a work history ending June 2005, revealed his total helicopter time was listed as 4,500 hours, and his total time was listed as 6,900 hours. A review of company records revealed he had accumulated 43.6 flight hours since October 11, 2005. He accumulated 6.4 flight hours on the accident date. A review of the NTSB "Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report" form signed by the pilot revealed his total rotorcraft time was 4,600 hours, and his total time was 7,000 hours.

The pilot of the EC 130 B4 helicopter seated in the left seat was the holder of a commercial pilot certificate with rotorcraft helicopter, and instrument helicopter ratings, last issued on December 24, 2003. He was issued a second-class medical certificate on September 21, 2005, with a limitation "holder shall wear corrective lenses while operating his airman certificate."

The pilot of the EC 130 B4 helicopter was hired by HeliFlight, Inc., on January 10, 2005, and with respect to the accident make and model helicopter, completed his crew member emergency ground training drills on April 15, 2005. On April 18, 2005, he completed the initial or transition ground training, and on April 20, 2005, he completed the initial or transition flight training. He was "Assigned to Duty as Pilot-in-Command" in the accident make and model helicopter on April 21, 2005. His last "Airman Competency/Proficiency Check flight in accordance with 14 CFR Part 135.293 and 299 was performed in the accident helicopter on April 20, 2005; the result was listed as "Approved." A review of the pilots resume dated October 22, 2004, indicated his total turbine helicopter time to date was listed as 323 hours. His total time on the resume was listed as 2,305 hours. A review of company records revealed he had accumulated 311.3 hours since employment; the month of November was not included in the total time since employment. A review of the NTSB "Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report" form signed by the director of operations revealed the pilot's total flight time and total rotorcraft flight time were each listed as 2,717 hours.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The AS-350B helicopter was manufactured by Aerospatiale in 1981, and was designated serial number 1370. It was originally manufactured as an AS-350D, but later converted to an AS-350B by compliance with Service Bulletin No. 10.12, Mod # AMS350A070096 Revision 2. The helicopter data plate still indicated the model as "350D." The helicopter was certificated in the normal category, and was equipped with a landing light, position lights, and upper strobe light.

A review of the "Aircraft Maintenance Log" sheets for the AS-350B helicopter revealed that from April 1, 2005, through the last undated sheet, no entries related to the landing, taxi, position, or upper strobe lights. Two discrepancies related to the aircraft's radios were noted; both were corrected. The first discrepancy was dated May 6, 2005, and the last discrepancy was dated August 11, 2005. Between April 1, 2005, and the accident date, the helicopter was operated a total of 135.5 hours.

Further review of the "Aircraft Maintenance Log" sheets for the AS-350B helicopter revealed it was last inspected in accordance with a 100-hour inspection on September 29, 2005; the total time since manufacture at that time was recorded to be 6,482.8 hours. At the time of the accident, the helicopter had accumulated 41.3 hours since the last inspection.

A review of the AS-350B helicopter "Flight Manual" revealed that daily helicopter operation requires three checks consisting of a check before the first flight of the day, a check in conjunction with flight, and a check after the last flight of the day. The flight manual indicates, "these daily checks may be carried out by qualified maintenance personnel or by a qualified pilot." A review of the items listed in all three checks revealed no specific mention to check the exterior lights. The operator does not have paperwork to sign off specifically related to compliance with the three checks. The operator does however have an "Aircraft Maintenance Log" sheet, which indicates pilot compliance with a preflight inspection.

A review of the AS-350B "ASTAR EXTERNAL PRE-FLIGHT INSPECTION" checklist provided by the operator revealed specific mention to check the landing, taxi, instrument, and Nos. 1 and 2 collision lights. A review of an undated "Aircraft Maintenance Log" sheet presumed to be for the accident date re

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On November 20, 2005, about 2048 eastern standard time, an Aerospatiale AS-350B (AS-350B) helicopter, N264BH, registered to and operated by Biscayne Helicopters, Inc., as a 14 CFR Part 91 positioning flight, and a Eurocopter France EC 130 B4 (EC 130 B4) helicopter, N130HS, registered to Wells Fargo Bank Northwest, and operated by HeliFlight, Inc., dba HelicopterShuttle.com, also as a 14 CFR Part 91 positioning flight, collided in-flight while both helicopters were on approach to land at Motorsports Complex VIP Heliport (Speedway Heliport), Homestead, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for either flight. Both helicopters were substantially damaged, and the commercial-rated pilot, the sole occupant of the AS-350B helicopter was not injured. The commercial-rated pilot, the sole occupant of the EC 130 B4 helicopter was fatally injured. The AS-350B flight originated about 2043, from Ocean Reef Club Airport, Key Largo, Florida. The EC 130 B4 flight originated about 2038, from Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport (KTMB), Miami, Florida.

A Ford 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series car race had previously ended at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Both helicopters were in-bound to pick-up passengers at the Speedway Heliport.

According to a Memorandum from the air traffic manager of KTMB Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT), at 2037:30, the pilot of the EC 130B4 helicopter contacted the facility on frequency 134.6 mHz and requested an "Echo" departure. The flight was cleared for takeoff and at 2039:31, the pilot requested frequency change to "Homestead Tower."

According to a transcription of communications with Homestead Air Reserve Base (KHST) ATCT for the frequency 133.45 mHz, at 2039:55, the pilot of the EC 130B4 helicopter established contact and advised the controller that his flight was 6 miles to the north, and inbound for landing at the Speedway Heliport. The controller acknowledged that transmission and advised the pilot "Watch for two others inbound from the north" and also provided an altimeter setting. The pilot responded, "Oh I got him." At 2042:42, the pilot of the AS-350B helicopter contacted the KHST controller and advised that the flight was "off Ocean Reef back to the track." The controller advised the pilot to proceed, "Direct to the track" and provided the altimeter setting, which the pilot acknowledged. At 2043:42, the pilot of the EC 130 B4 requested frequency change to the track, to which the controller responded, "Yes sir, zero hotel sierra. Frequency change approved, thirty four three." The pilot correctly repeated the frequency. There were no further recorded transmissions from the pilot of the EC 130 B4 helicopter. At 2044:26, the controller advised the pilot of the AS-350B helicopter, "and uh six four bravo hotel, there is about four of them ahead of you. Contact track control." The pilot acknowledged that transmission. There were no further recorded transmissions from the pilot of the AS-350B helicopter.

The AS-350B pilot stated that he contacted "race control" on frequency 134.3 mHz, and advised that he was 2 nautical miles southeast of the Speedway Heliport, inbound. He was advised to report when his flight was 1 mile south of the Speedway Heliport, which he complied with. He was advised to follow an Agusta 109 helicopter "to the pad." The Agusta 109 helicopter at the time of his radio call was located just north of the westernmost pad at the Speedway Heliport, and was in a 5-foot hover. He (AS-350B pilot) was on a modified right base for landing to the east at the Speedway Heliport, and turned onto final where, "shortly after that (I am not sure exactly how long) I felt a shudder and then the aircraft started to vibrate significantly (I do not remember my altitude or airspeed at that time)." He reported hearing the president of Biscayne Helicopters, Inc., advise over the frequency that there had been a midair collision. He performed a run-on landing on grass west of the helipads, and while the helicopter started to slow, it began turning and listing to the left. He braced when he saw the main rotor blades contacting the ground, and when they slowed, he executed the "emergency shutdown procedures." He then exited the helicopter from the right main cabin door. He further reported he does not recall hearing "a radio transmission from the other aircraft involved in the accident. Nor, do I remember seeing any aircraft in the landing pattern, except SK aircraft in the landing area." He also reported the nearby area was well lit, and he saw a lot of blinking lights from police cars that were located on a road that paralleled the canal south of the Speedway Heliport. At the time of the accident he had on the strobe lights, position lights, instrument lights, and search lights.

The individual who was located at ground level at the Speedway Heliport and was handling ground-to-air communications at the time of the accident reported he had been on that position for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, and he was providing "VFR advisory service" to inbound helicopters. He was communicating with inbound and departing helicopters on frequency 134.3 mHz. The pilots of both helicopters announced on that frequency they were inbound to land at the Speedway Heliport. The pilot of the EC 130 B4 helicopter established contact with him 2 times, though he (the individual providing VFR advisory service) did not recall hearing the EC 130 B4 pilot provide a position report on initial contact. He (individual providing VFR advisory service) stated that he had visual contact with the AS-350B helicopter, but he never had visual contact by landing or strobe light with the EC 130 B4 helicopter, which was on a straight-in approach landing to the east. The AS-350B helicopter was assigned to the west side of the Speedway Heliport area, and the EC 130 B4 helicopter was assigned to the West pad, which was confirmed by the pilot. Approximately 2 minutes before the collision "tiny rockets" were launched from a nearby parking lot southwest of the Speedway Heliport.

The individual providing VFR advisory service further reported he noticed the AS-350B helicopter was on a right base and noted an obscuration, which either could have been road dust, or smoke from the previously launched "tiny rockets." He didn't notice the obscuration until the collision; the AS-350B helicopter was in a right turn when the collision occurred. He did not see the EC 130 B4 helicopter until it was descending to the ground, nor did he recall seeing any lights from it. The sequence for landing was the AS-350B, followed by the EC 130 B4. His impression was that the EC 130 B4 helicopter was "farther away." When on an east operation, traffic will do a straight-in approach to the helipad; "long final approaches are normal." He also stated that he is able to see helicopters 2-3 deep lined up for final approach to the Speedway Heliport based on seeing landing lights. He was generally/typically looking for strobe or landing lights to visually observe inbound helicopters. At the time of the collision, he was only in contact with the pilots of the accident helicopters; there was no communication difficulty and he was not distracted by other duties. Additionally, helicopters were located on the east and center pads at the Heliport; both were preparing to depart.

Numerous witnesses reported seeing the AS-350B helicopter, which was observed flying southwest of the Speedway Heliport, turn to the east. Simultaneously, the EC 130 B4 helicopter was flying in an easterly direction, and was located west of the Speedway Heliport. The witnesses reported the AS-350B helicopter was slightly higher and to the right of the EC 130 B4 helicopter, and the AS-350B helicopter appeared to be flying at a faster speed than the EC 130 B4 helicopter. One witness reported that the AS-350B helicopter was "coming in hard" with respect to speed and vertical descent rate, while another witness reported that the AS-350B helicopter overtook the EC 130 B4 helicopter, and appeared to be flying at twice the speed of the EC 130 B4 helicopter. Following the collision, the EC 130 B4 helicopter descended almost immediately, while the AS-350B helicopter flew in an easterly direction and landed at the Speedway Heliport.

Bystanders responded to both accident sites and offered assistance or first aid. The president of the company operating the AS-350B helicopter, who was located at a tent where the ground-to-air communications were occurring, reported first responding to the AS-350B helicopter. When he arrived the pilot appeared to be all right, and was exiting the helicopter. He then went to the EC 130 B4 helicopter and noticed lights on the center console, and one landing light blinded him. A person reporting to be a doctor arrived and began rendering first aid.

The NTSB Operational Factors Division located in Washington, D.C., received and processed recorded radar data from FAA Miami International Airport Air Traffic Control Tower. A review of NTSB prepared plots of radar targets revealed radar targets near each respective departure airport for each helicopter at about the approximate time of departure. The radar plots indicate an aircraft on transponder code 1200 was noted approximately 6 miles northwest of the Ocean Reef Club Airport, proceeding in a northwesterly direction towards the vicinity of the Speedway Heliport. The radar plots also indicate an aircraft on transponder code 1200 east of the KTMB Airport, proceeding east then south towards the vicinity of the Speedway Heliport, where both presumed targets descended below radar coverage.

Witnesses reported that at the time of the accident, an undetermined number of police cars with their overhead lights flashing were located on S.W. 344th Street, which is an east/west oriented street located south of the Speedway Heliport.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot of the AS-350B helicopter seated in the right seat holds an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane multiengine land rating. He also holds a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and rotorcraft helicopter ratings, last issued on December 17, 2001. He was issued a first-class medical certificate on February 15, 2005, with a restriction, "holder shall wear corrective lenses while exercising the privileges of his/her airman certificate."

Biscayne Helicopters, Inc., previously employed the pilot of the AS-350B helicopter from June 1987, to December 1989, and also in various capacities from 1996, to 1999. He resumed flying with Biscayne Helicopters, Inc., as a contract pilot on October 11, 2005. With respect to the accident make and model helicopter, he completed his aircraft ground training, which included general subjects, aircraft systems, and systems integration on October 12, 2005. A review of his "Flight Training Record" forms, "Crewmember Training Record" form, and "Certificate of Flight Training" form revealed he flew with 2 different instructors on separate flights in the accident helicopter for his initial pilot-in-command training on November 3, 2005. The total right seat hours "Block-to-Block" time was recorded to be 4.5 hours; the "Flight Grade" of both was listed as satisfactory. On November 6, 2005, he received a "night check" in the accident helicopter. A "Flight Grade" was not listed; however, no columns other than the "Proficient" column were checked. The "Crewmember Training Record" form indicates that with respect to the position "PIC" and the aircraft type "AS350", on November 9, 2005, he "successfully completed the training requirements specified by the FAA-approved training program." A review of an undated resume with a work history ending June 2005, revealed his total helicopter time was listed as 4,500 hours, and his total time was listed as 6,900 hours. A review of company records revealed he had accumulated 43.6 flight hours since October 11, 2005. He accumulated 6.4 flight hours on the accident date. A review of the NTSB "Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report" form signed by the pilot revealed his total rotorcraft time was 4,600 hours, and his total time was 7,000 hours.

The pilot of the EC 130 B4 helicopter seated in the left seat was the holder of a commercial pilot certificate with rotorcraft helicopter, and instrument helicopter ratings, last issued on December 24, 2003. He was issued a second-class medical certificate on September 21, 2005, with a limitation "holder shall wear corrective lenses while operating his airman certificate."

The pilot of the EC 130 B4 helicopter was hired by HeliFlight, Inc., on January 10, 2005, and with respect to the accident make and model helicopter, completed his crew member emergency ground training drills on April 15, 2005. On April 18, 2005, he completed the initial or transition ground training, and on April 20, 2005, he completed the initial or transition flight training. He was "Assigned to Duty as Pilot-in-Command" in the accident make and model helicopter on April 21, 2005. His last "Airman Competency/Proficiency Check flight in accordance with 14 CFR Part 135.293 and 299 was performed in the accident helicopter on April 20, 2005; the result was listed as "Approved." A review of the pilots resume dated October 22, 2004, indicated his total turbine helicopter time to date was listed as 323 hours. His total time on the resume was listed as 2,305 hours. A review of company records revealed he had accumulated 311.3 hours since employment; the month of November was not included in the total time since employment. A review of the NTSB "Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report" form signed by the director of operations revealed the pilot's total flight time and total rotorcraft flight time were each listed as 2,717 hours.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The AS-350B helicopter was manufactured by Aerospatiale in 1981, and was designated serial number 1370. It was originally manufactured as an AS-350D, but later converted to an AS-350B by compliance with Service Bulletin No. 10.12, Mod # AMS350A070096 Revision 2. The helicopter data plate still indicated the model as "350D." The helicopter was certificated in the normal category, and was equipped with a landing light, position lights, and upper strobe light.

A review of the "Aircraft Maintenance Log" sheets for the AS-350B helicopter revealed that from April 1, 2005, through the last undated sheet, no entries related to the landing, taxi, position, or upper strobe lights. Two discrepancies related to the aircraft's radios were noted; both were corrected. The first discrepancy was dated May 6, 2005, and the last discrepancy was dated August 11, 2005. Between April 1, 2005, and the accident date, the helicopter was operated a total of 135.5 hours.

Further review of the "Aircraft Maintenance Log" sheets for the AS-350B helicopter revealed it was last inspected in accordance with a 100-hour inspection on September 29, 2005; the total time since manufacture at that time was recorded to be 6,482.8 hours. At the time of the accident, the helicopter had accumulated 41.3 hours since the last inspection.

A review of the AS-350B helicopter "Flight Manual" revealed that daily helicopter operation requires three checks consisting of a check before the first flight of the day, a check in conjunction with flight, and a check after the last flight of the day. The flight manual indicates, "these daily checks may be carried out by qualified maintenance personnel or by a qualified pilot." A review of the items listed in all three checks revealed no specific mention to check the exterior lights. The operator does not have paperwork to sign off specifically related to compliance with the three checks. The operator does however have an "Aircraft Maintenance Log" sheet, which indicates pilot compliance with a preflight inspection.

A review of the AS-350B "ASTAR EXTERNAL PRE-FLIGHT INSPECTION" checklist provided by the operator revealed specific mention to check the landing, taxi, instrument, and Nos. 1 and 2 collision lights. A review of an undated "Aircraft Maintenance Log" sheet presumed to be for the accident date rev

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.