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N748P accident description

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Tail numberN748P
Accident dateJanuary 04, 2009
Aircraft typeSikorsky S-76C
LocationMorgan City, LA
Near 39.522223 N, -91.0675 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On January 4, 2008, at 1409 Central Standard Time (CST), a Sikorsky S-76C++ helicopter, N748P, registered to and operated by Petroleum Helicopters , Inc.(PHI), as a CFR 49 Part 135 air taxi flight using day visual flight rules (VFR), crashed into marshy terrain approximately 7 minutes after take-off and 12 miles southeast of the departure heliport. Both pilots and six of the seven passengers on board were killed. One person was critically injured. The helicopter departed Lake Palourde Base Heliport, a PHI base (7LS3), in Amelia, Louisiana, en route to the South Timbalier oil platform ST301B to transport workers from two different oil exploration companies. No flight plan was filed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), nor was one required. A company flight plan was filed with the PHI communications center that provided weather updates and flight following for the helicopter crew.

According to representatives of PHI, the flight was being tracked via Outerlink, a satellite based fleet-tracking system used by the PHI communications center. The departure from 7LS3 was reported at 1402. The track suddenly ended about 7 minutes after departure at 1409. There were no reports of any problems from the flight crew on the PHI radio frequencies or emergency transmissions on any monitored air traffic control frequencies. A search and rescue operation was initiated at 1414 after the US Air Force notified PHI and the United States Coast Guard of a distress signal being transmitted with the unique identifier that is part of the Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) signal that transmits the Aircraft registration number and latitude and longitude coordinates. The helicopter wreckage was found shortly thereafter near the location of the loss of the track and transmitted ELT signal location by the U.S. Coast Guard. The wreckage was found partially submerged and exhibited very little main rotor blade damage.

The twin-engine, 14-seat, 2-year-old helicopter was equipped with glass cockpit instrumentation, a combination cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR), an enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS), solid state quick access recorder (SSQAR), and a VXP vibration recorder. The two Turbomeca Ariel turbo shaft engines were equipped with digital engine control units (DECU). All of these devices have been recovered and are being evaluated by the NTSB IIC and the investigative team. Additional electronic components and flight components are scheduled for further detailed examination. The wreckage was recovered to the PHI maintenance facility in Lafayette, Louisiana and secured.

The weather conditions reported at Amelia, Louisiana at 1430 CST were; scattered cloud layers at 1,500 feet and 3,500 feet, a broken cloud layer at 10,000 feet, visibility 10 miles, winds at 160 degrees at 6 knots, temperature of 24 degrees Celsius, and dew point of 19 degrees Celsius.

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