Helicopter Flight Training Sponsors
 Search

Subscribe

Categories

 Search

NTSB Final Report: New York, NY

 

Location:

New York, NY

Accident Number:

ERA18MA099

Date & Time:

03/11/2018, 1908 EDT

Registration:

N350LH

Aircraft:

AMERICAN EUROCOPTER CORP AS350B2

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Defining Event:

Miscellaneous/other

Injuries:

5 Fatal, 1 Minor

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 91: General Aviation - Other Work Use - Sightseeing

Analysis 

The Safety Board's full report is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/aviation.aspx. The Aircraft Accident Report number is NTSB/AAR-19/04.

On March 11, 2018, about 1908 eastern daylight time, an Airbus Helicopters AS350 B2, N350LH, lost engine power during cruise flight, and the pilot performed an autorotative descent and ditching on the East River in New York, New York. The pilot sustained minor injuries, the five passengers drowned, and the helicopter was substantially damaged. The FlyNYON-branded flight was operated by Liberty Helicopters Inc. (Liberty), per a contractual agreement with NYONair; both companies considered the flight to be an aerial photography flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. (During this accident investigation, the Federal Aviation Administration determined that Liberty operated the flight as a nonstop commercial air tour under 14 CFR Part 91.) Visual flight rules weather conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the intended 30-minute local flight, which departed from Helo Kearny Heliport, Kearny, New Jersey, about 1850.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: 

Liberty Helicopters Inc.'s use of a NYONair-provided passenger harness/tether system, which caught on and activated the floor-mounted engine fuel shutoff lever and resulted in the in-flight loss of engine power and the subsequent ditching. Contributing to this accident were (1) Liberty's and NYONair's deficient safety management, which did not adequately mitigate foreseeable risks associated with the harness/tether system interfering with the floor-mounted controls and hindering passenger egress; (2) Liberty allowing NYONair to influence the operational control of Liberty's FlyNYON flights; and (3) the Federal Aviation Administration's inadequate oversight of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 revenue passenger-carrying operations. Contributing to the severity of the accident were (1) the rapid capsizing of the helicopter due to partial inflation of the emergency flotation system and (2) Liberty and NYONair's use of the harness/tether system that hindered passenger egress. 

Findings

Aircraft

Flight compartment equipment - Design (Cause)

Fuel selector/shutoff valve - Unintentional use/operation (Cause)

 

Emergency floatation section - Design (Factor)

Passenger compartment equip - Unnecessary use/operation (Factor)

Organizational issues

Safety - Operator (Factor)

Adherence to safety program - Operator (Factor)

Oversight of operation - Operator (Factor)

Safety - Other institution/organization (Factor)

Availability of safety program - Other institution/organization (Factor)

Oversight of operation - FAA/Regulator (Factor)

Regulatory requirements - FAA/Regulator (Factor)

Adequacy of policy/proc - FAA/Regulator (Factor)

Factual Information 

The Safety Board's full report is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/aviation.aspx. The Aircraft Accident Report number is NTSB/AAR-19/04.

On March 11, 2018, about 1908 eastern daylight time, an Airbus Helicopters AS350 B2, N350LH, lost engine power during cruise flight, and the pilot performed an autorotative descent and ditching on the East River in New York, New York. The pilot sustained minor injuries, the five passengers drowned, and the helicopter was substantially damaged. The FlyNYON-branded flight was operated by Liberty Helicopters Inc. (Liberty), per a contractual agreement with NYONair; both companies considered the flight to be an aerial photography flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. (During this accident investigation, the Federal Aviation Administration determined that Liberty operated the flight as a nonstop commercial air tour under 14 CFR Part 91.) Visual flight rules weather conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the intended 30-minute local flight, which departed from Helo Kearny Heliport, Kearny, New Jersey, about 1850.

History of Flight

Prior to flight

Miscellaneous/other (Defining event)

Maneuvering

Fuel starvation

Loss of engine power (total)

Emergency descent

Attempted remediation/recovery

Off-field or emergency landing

Landing

Roll over

After landing

Evacuation

Miscellaneous/other

 

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Flight Instructor; Commercial

Age:

33, Male

Airplane Rating(s):

None

Seat Occupied:

Right

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

Helicopter

Restraint Used:

 

Instrument Rating(s):

Helicopter

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

Helicopter; Instrument Helicopter

Toxicology Performed:

Yes

Medical Certification:

Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

07/27/2017

Occupational Pilot:

Yes

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

02/21/2018

Flight Time:

(Estimated) 3100 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1430 hours (Total, this make and model), 3020 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 57 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 33 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

AMERICAN EUROCOPTER CORP

Registration:

N350LH

Model/Series:

AS350B2

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Year of Manufacture:

2013

Amateur Built:

No

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

7654

Landing Gear Type:

Emergency Float; High Skid

Seats:

7

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

03/06/2018, 100 Hour

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

4961 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

14 Hours

Engines:

1 Turbo Shaft

Airframe Total Time:

5510.2 Hours at time of accident

Engine Manufacturer:

Turbomeca

ELT:

C126 installed, not activated

Engine Model/Series:

Arriel 1D1

Registered Owner:

MERIDIAN CONSULTING CORP INC

Rated Power:

712 hp

Operator:

LIBERTY HELICOPTERS INC

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

Certificate of Authorization or Waiver (COA); On-demand Air Taxi (135)

Operator Does Business As:

 

Operator Designator Code:

OEMJ

 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual Conditions

Condition of Light:

Dusk

Observation Facility, Elevation:

LGA, 21 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

3 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

1914 EDT

Direction from Accident Site:

88°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Scattered / 250 ft agl

Visibility

10 Miles

Lowest Ceiling:

None

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

7 knots /

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

/ None

Wind Direction:

330°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

/ N/A

Altimeter Setting:

30.06 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

7°C / -6°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

Departure Point:

KEARNY, NJ (65NJ)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

Company VFR

Destination:

KEARNY, NJ (65NJ)

Type of Clearance:

Traffic Advisory; VFR Flight Following

Departure Time:

1850 EDT

Type of Airspace:

Air Traffic Control; Class B

 

 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 Minor

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Passenger Injuries:

5 Fatal

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

5 Fatal, 1 Minor

Latitude, Longitude:

40.775556, -73.940000

 

Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Todd G Gunther

Report Date:

01/21/2020

Additional Participating Persons:

Matt Rigsby; FAA / AVP-100; Washington, DC

Seth Buttner; Airbus Helicopters; Grand Prairie, TX

Bryan Larimore; SAFRAN Helicopter Engines; Grand Prairie, TX

Erell Verleyen; BEA; Le Bourget, FN

Paul Tramontana; Liberty Helicopters Inc.; Kearny, NJ

Jillian O'Brian; NYONair; Kearny, NJ

Pablo Bravo; Dart Aerospace; San Diego, CA

Marc Belzile; TSBC; Ottawa, FN

Tom Armstrong; Transport Canada; Ottawa, FN

Hoss Golanbari; EuroTec Canada Ltd.; Millgrove, FN

Hannu Melaranta; EASA; Cologne, FN

Publish Date:

01/21/2020

Note:

The NTSB traveled to the scene of this accident.

Investigation Docket:

http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/dockList.cfm?mKey=96850







Read More

Related Articles