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N98AW accident description

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Tail numberN98AW
Accident dateMay 18, 1997
Aircraft typeBell 206B
LocationHilo, HI
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On May 18, 1997, about 1145 hours Hawaiian standard time, a Bell 206B helicopter, N98AW, collided with mountainous terrain 21 miles north-northwest of Hilo, Hawaii. The aircraft was found at 0815 hours on May 20 after being reported overdue on a company ferry flight from Kona to Hilo. The accident site is at the 6,500 foot level on the eastern slope of the Mauna Kea volcano. The aircraft was destroyed and the solo commercial pilot received fatal injuries. The pilot had filed a company visual flight plan, but obtained no preflight weather briefing and was not rated for instrument flight. Meteorological conditions along the intended route of flight were variable from visual to instrument conditions with a 7,000-foot overcast overlaying the destination and eastern portion of the route.

A first officer for Hawaiian Airlines stated to a Federal Aviation Administration Inspector that he and the captain of flight 381 observed a helicopter 15 to 20 miles west of Hilo on top of the overcast at 7,500 feet at approximately 1135 on May 18, and that the aircraft appeared to be searching for a visual path through the clouds. The first officer further stated that there were no holes in the clouds that he could see, and that Hilo was under a solid overcast at that time.

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