On December 15, 2017, about 0650 eastern standard time, a Sikorsky S76A, N911FK, operated by Global Sky Air Charter Corporation, was substantially damaged by an engine compartment fire after landing near Islamorada, Florida. The airline transport pilot was not injured. The flight was operated in accordance with Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an on-demand air medical flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a company visual flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight that departed The Florida Keys Marathon International Airport (MTH), Marathon, Florida at 0637.
The operator reported that the pilot was conducting an air medical trauma patient pickup and had landed at a pre-surveyed landing zone in Islamorada, Florida at 0650. After landing, the pilot positioned the engines controls to ground idle and applied the rotor brake before the onboard medical crew departed the helicopter. After the medical crew departed the helicopter and arrived at the parked ambulance, the flight nurse looked at the helicopter and noticed black smoke, followed by flames coming out of the main rotor gear box area.
The pilot reported that he noticed No. 1 engine temperature fluctuations and shut down the engine. The flight nurse waved her arms and shouted that the helicopter was on fire. The pilot did not observe any indications of a fire from the cockpit; however, he noticed flames when he partially exited the helicopter. He then shut down the No. 2 engine, discharged both fire bottles, and exited the helicopter. He stated the fire continued until the fire department extinguished it.
According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the helicopter was manufactured in 1981. It was equipped with twin Safran turboshaft engines driving a four-blade main rotor system. At the time of the accident, the helicopter had 11,406 airframe total hours. It was issued a standard airworthiness certificate in the transport category on June 22, 1998.
According to the pilot and operator records, the pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multi-engine land and helicopter. His reported total flight time was 5,850 total hours with 685 hours in make and model. In the last 90 days, he flew 43 hours.
Examination of the helicopter by an FAA inspector revealed that the engine compartment was damaged by fire and there was heat damage to the hydraulic lines, rotor shaft, swashplate and rotor blades. In addition, the rotor brake was damaged and fused by heat.
The helicopter was recovered from the accident site and retained for additional examination.