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N2877F accident description

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Crash location 41.875556°N, 91.852222°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Walford, IA
41.878338°N, 91.834624°W
0.9 miles away

Tail number N2877F
Accident date 30 Jun 2006
Aircraft type Bell 206B
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On June 30, 2006, at 1251 central daylight time, a Bell 206B, N2877F, piloted by a commercial pilot, was destroyed when it impacted power lines and the ground, while maneuvering near Walford, Iowa. The 14 CFR Part 91 business flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The pilot and one passenger received serious injuries. One passenger was fatally injured. The local flight originated from Walford, Iowa, at an unconfirmed time.

The flight was being conducted to film an automobile traveling on a road for a motion picture. It was reported that the helicopter had started the flight from a nearby parking lot and had made several passes along the road filming the automobile in question.


The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and rotorcraft helicopter ratings. He also held a certified flight instructor certificate with a rotorcraft helicopter rating. A review of the pilot's flight logbook records indicated that he had accumulated 1,500 flight hours in fixed wing aircraft and 7,142 hours in helicopters. The flight records also indicated that the pilot had accumulated 77.7 hours, 68.4 hours, and 47.3 hours of helicopter flight time in the previous 90, 60, and 30 days respectively. All of the flight time recorded in the preceding 10 years, 2,699 hours, was in Bell 206 helicopters.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot's most recent second-class medical certificate was issued on January 9, 2006, and listed a limitation that the pilot wear corrective lenses while exercising the privileges of his pilot certificate.


The helicopter was a Bell model 206B, serial number 2971. It was a single main rotor helicopter with a tail mounted anti-torque rotor. The helicopter was powered by an Allison model 250-C20B engine rated to produce 420 horsepower for takeoff. The helicopter was equipped with a motion picture camera mount, which allowed filming from the right side door of the aircraft. During operation, the camera protruded from the right door of the aircraft with the camera operator seated with his lower legs outside of the helicopter's fuselage.


The weather reporting station located at the Eastern Iowa Airport, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, located about 7 miles east of the accident site, recorded the following weather conditions: Scattered clouds at 6,500 feet above the ground; 10 statute mile visibility; Calm winds; Temperature at 26 degree Celsius; Dew Point at 16 degrees Celsius; Altimeter setting 29.99 inches of mercury.


The helicopter came to rest on its left side amongst a corn crop that stood about four to five feet tall. The accident site was located just southwest of the intersection of highway 151 and 33rd avenue.

The tail rotor blades remained attached to their hub. One blade was folded over about 1/3 of its length from the hub. The helicopter's tail boom was separated from the main fuselage aft of the cabin. The tail boom was also bent and partially separated just forward of the tail rotor gearbox. The tail rotor gearbox remained attached to its mount.

The fuselage exhibited crushing and damage consistent with a nose low impact with horizontal and vertical components. The center floor section of the fuselage was separated and located with the main fuselage wreckage. The landing skids were separated. The main rotor blades remained attached to the hub.

The helicopter was equipped with a wire strike protection system, which consisted of an upper cutter/deflector, a windshield deflector and a lower cutter/deflector. The windshield deflector consisted of an abrasive strip designed to weaken the wire and deflect it into the upper cutter. On the accident helicopter, the windshield deflector and the lower portion of the upper cutter did not exhibit any evidence of abrasion or contact consistent with a wire strike. The upper cutter was separated from the helicopter. The cutter was not located during the NTSB's on-scene examination.

The helicopter control system was examined at the accident site. No anomalies were found that were determined to have existed prior to impact.

No aircraft, control or engine anomalies were found that could be determined to have existed prior to the accident.

Local authorities confirmed that a power line that ran between wooden poles along the west side of 33rd avenue were severed when they arrived at the accident scene. The power lines had been repaired prior to the arrival of the NTSB investigator. The height of the power lines was estimated to be about 50 feet.


The motion picture camera's film was developed and dubbed onto a Betacam video format. This dubbed video was examined by the National Transportation Safety Board's Vehicle Recorder Division. The video contained several recorded scenes.

In the first airborne scene, the helicopter is flying at a low altitude and filming a car as it traveled west on highway 151. During this scene, the helicopter speed matches the speed of the car being filmed. The estimated altitude of the helicopter was about 100 feet above ground level (AGL) until the aircraft passed the intersection of 33rd avenue. At this point, the helicopter descended to about 50 feet AGL. The helicopter continued heading west until the road made a turn to the south. Prior to crossing the road, the helicopter climbed to an altitude of about 200 feet AGL. During this scene, the helicopter maintained a lateral displacement from the road of about 200 feet to the south.

In the second airborne scene, the helicopter was flying eastbound along highway 151 and was displaced about 200 feet north of the road. The helicopter was again filming the car and matching its speed. The helicopter altitude was about 50 feet throughout the scene except for the portion when the helicopter climbed to about 200 feet AGL in the vicinity of houses and trees located at 33rd avenue.

The third airborne scene followed the same ground track as that of the first airborne scene. The helicopter's altitude started at about 100 feet AGL until the helicopter passed a driveway intersection east of 33rd avenue. At this time the helicopter descended to about 30 to 50 feet AGL. The helicopter was still about 2,000 feet east of 33rd avenue at that time. The helicopter's speed again matched that of the car and was estimated to be 50 to 60 miles per hour. The helicopter remained at about 30 to 50 feet AGL and 200 feet south of the road heading westbound until the end of the recording. There was no evidence of any avoidance or maneuver prior to the end of the recording.

According to the FAA inspector on-scene, the operator of the helicopter had not received a waiver from the FAA for the operation. FAA order 8700.1, Chapter 52 requires that FAA Form 7711-1, Certificate of Waiver or Authorization, must be obtained for helicopter motion picture and television filming operations.


The helicopter wreckage was released at the scene to local authorities.

(c) 2009-2018 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.