Inadvertent IMC.
PIC: Comm, public use.
Near Santa Fe NM.
Agusta A109.
Prelim report (2 killed, 1 injured).

Both the commercial pilot and a passenger were killed on the evening of 06-09-09, when an Agusta A109E rescue helicopter, being operated as public use, hit a mountain after inadvertently going IMC. An onboard spotter and the pilot had located a lost hiker earlier and landed to pick her up.

The pilot went into the woods, brought her out on his back and secured her in the seat. The weather deteriorated and it started sleeting. The pilot stated he saw a “valley in the clouds” and took off for the opening.

After takeoff, the clouds closed in around the helicopter. According to the statement of the spotter—a highway patrolman—after takeoff the pilot pulled up abruptly and he felt the helicopter “hit something, shudder and start running rough.”

The pilot made a radio call, saying, “We hit a mountain,” and continued to fly for another minute before impacting a steep ridgeline. The helicopter rolled down the hill, disintegrating and ejecting the pilot and passenger from the helicopter in the descent.

Runway overrun.
PIC: Unreported, Part 91K.
BDR (Bridgeport CT).
Pilatus PC12.
Prelim report (no injuries).

On 06-12-09, a Pilatus PC12/47 was substantially damaged when it departed the end of the runway while landing long in poor weather. The aircraft, operating under fractional ownership, struck a blast fence during rollout but no injuries were sustained.

Originally bound for HPN (White Plains NY), the flight destination was changed to BDR (Bridgeport CT) prior to departure by the crew due to poor weather in New York. When the crew checked, BDR’s reported weather was 700-ft ceilings and 7-mile visibility.

The crew conducted a VOR 24 ap­proach to minimums after arriving in the Bridgeport area, did not break out and conducted a missed approach. After receiving radar vectors for the ILS 6 the captain flew the approach using the autopilot.

At decision height, the copilot called the runway lights so the crew continued the approach. Shortly afterwards, the pilots saw the runway and configured the aircraft for landing. The pilots stated they knew they were landing long but felt they had “plenty of runway.”

After touching down halfway down the 4667-ft runway the captain used max reverse and heavy braking. The aircraft began to hydro­plane and could not stop in time before striking the fence.

Construction vehicle conflicts.
PIC: ATP, Part 121.
BOS (Logan, Boston MA).
Airbus A320.
Prelim report (no injuries).

A construction vehicle crossed Run­way 15R at BOS without a clearance on 06-18-09. It did so in front of a US Airways Airbus A320 on departure roll, which rotated 500 ft short of Taxi­way M, the point at which the vehicle crossed the runway.

Taxiway M is under construction and the vehicle was not in radio communication with Boston Tower. Controllers were alerted to the runway incursion by ground radar.

The Airport Authority said they had briefed all personnel the runway was active, but the driver said he was not briefed. His airport driving rights have been suspended pending completion of the investigation.

Fatal cow herding.
PIC: Comm, Part 91.
Morristown AZ.
Robinson R22.
Prelim report (1 killed).

On 06-11-09, the pilot and sole occupant of a Robinson R22 Beta was killed while rounding up stray cows less than 1/4 mile from his home after the helicopter struck a power line. The R22 was substantially damaged. A witness said he heard the helicopter working the area when he heard a loud boom.

After the power went out in his home, he drove to the accident site and found the downed helicopter. VMC prevailed at the time of the accident.

ATC operational error.
PIC: N/A, Part 121/135. CLE (Hopkins, Cleveland OH).
Embraer ERJ145/Boeing 737.
Prelim report (no injuries).

A runway incursion occurred on 06-03-09 at CLE (Hopkins, Cleveland OH) due to an operational error made by ATC during day VMC. The developmental controller working local control (who was being monitored by a certified controller) cleared a Continental Express Embraer ERJ­145 for take­off, full length, from Rwy 6.

Seconds later, the controller cleared a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 into position and hold on the same runway. The 737 crew taxied onto Rwy 6 at Taxiway T, which is approximately 500 ft down the runway from where the Embraer jet was taking the runway for takeoff.

Engine failure after takeoff.
PIC: Comm, Part 135. 57B (Islesboro ME).
Cessna 206.
Prelim report (no injuries).

A Cessna U206F operating a Part 135 cargo flight was substantially damaged on 06-15-09 when the engine failed shortly after takeoff from 57B (Islesboro ME). The pilot made an off-airfield landing in a heavily forested area and was not injured.

In his statement the pilot reported water in the fuel during the preflight. He stated that he continued to sump fuel from the tanks until there appeared to be no water present. Take­off was normal, but the engine lost power shortly after liftoff, at around 200–300 ft. The throttle was full open but the engine was not producing power. Without any suitable landing areas, the pilot elected to land straight ahead in wooded terrain.