Loss of tail rotor authority.
PIC: ATP, Part 135.
Tucson AZ.
Eurocopter AS350B3.
Prelim report (no injuries).

During an attempted landing on a hospital helipad in Tucson AZ on 09-24-09, the pilot of a Eurocopter AS­350B3 AStar experienced loss of tail rotor authority and landed hard. The pilot reported to NTSB that the approach was fine until the final 5 ft, when the helicopter started an uncommanded yaw to the left. He countered with right pedal but when this had no effect he quickly lowered the collective and landed hard. The helicopter spun 180° before coming to rest.

Power loss on climbout.
PIC: Comm, Part 135.
Sheffield MA.
Cessna 208 Caravan.
Prelim report (no injuries).

On 09-15-09, a Cessna 208 Caravan was destroyed after experiencing a loss of engine power during a flight from FRG (Farmingdale, NY) when the commercial rated pilot attempted an off-airport emergency landing. According to the NTSB report, the pilot stated that, around 8500 ft, when cleared to 9000, he heard 2 “whooshing” sounds about 5 seconds apart. The torque began fluctuating and then went to idle. He then heard a loud bang and felt engine vibrations. The pilot declared an emergency and was unable to make the ATC recommended airfield only 10 miles away. He conducted a forced landing near Sheffield MA.

EMS helo impact with terrain.
PIC: Comm, Part 91.
GGE (Georgetown SC).
Eurocopter AS350B2.
Prelim report (3 killed).

Three crewmembers were killed on the night of 09-25-09, when their Eurocopter AS350B2 impacted terrain near GGE (Georgetown SC). The Part 91 repositioning flight had just dropped off a patient at a medical center for an interfacility transfer, and the crew was returning to home base at HYW (Conway SC) after refueling. The flight was on a VFR flightplan and IMC prevailed at the time of the accident. Post-accident review of radar data provided by NOAA showed that “the helicopter entered an area of convective activity and precipitation.”

Indeed, eye witnesses stated that they saw the helicopter “paralleling US Route 17 in moderate to heavy rain.” A post-crash fire consumed most of the helicopter wreckage but, according to the NTSB report, there was no evidence of pre-impact failures or malfunctions. The helicopter was not equipped for IMC nor did it have night vision devices, autopilot or terrain avoidance warning system installed. The pilot did not meet instrument currency requirements for IMC flight.

Windshear on short final.
PIC: ATP, Part 91.
MVY (Vineyard Haven MA).
Bombardier Challenger 601.
Prelim report (no injuries).

While on very short final for ILS Rwy 24 at MVY (Vineyard Haven MA) on 09-27-09, the crew of a Challenger 601 experienced a windshear when landing. The pilots stated that at approximately 15–20 ft AGL, the windshear resulted in a loss of 25 kts, causing the airplane to bounce and land hard. The aircraft rolled out without further incident and the crew performed a post-flight inspection with no visual damage noted. The wind was reported from 120° at 14 kts, gusting to 20. The crew departed 15 minutes later and retracted the gear. The nose landing gear door open light remained on so the crew diverted to BDL (Windsor Locks CT), where the pilot landed the aircraft without incident. An FAA inspector later found substantial damage to the nose section of the airplane and the forward pressure bulkhead.