ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 45724
Last updated: 19 February 2017
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Narrative:On October 19, 2001, at 14:58 mountain daylight time (MDT), an Aerospatiale AS350B2 helicopter, N111DT, was destroyed during impact with terrain while maneuvering near Roswell, New Mexico. The commercial pilot and one passenger sustained serious injuries, and two passengers sustained fatal injuries. The helicopter came down one mile north of US Highway 70, mile post 325, on the Marley Ranch, approximately 4.3 miles west of Roswell, New Mexico. The two fatalities were later named as Robert Solis and Damon Talbott, both State Troopers with the New Mexico State Police.
Aérospatiale AS 350B2
|Owner/operator:||Medical Air Transport Inc|
|C/n / msn:|| 2400|
|Fatalities:||Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 4|
|Airplane damage:|| Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||Marley Ranch, 1 mile N of Highway 70, 4 miles west of Roswell, NM -
United States of America
|Phase:|| Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)|
|Departure airport:||Roswell, New Mexico|
|Investigating agency: ||National Transport Safety Bureau (NTSB) - United States of America |
The helicopter was registered to and operated by Medical Air Transport, Inc., of Payson, Arizona. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a company visual flight rule (VFR) flight plan was filed for the orientation flight. The local flight originated from the New Mexico State Police Office parking lot in Roswell, at 14:51 MDT.
The pilot had been conducting landing zone training with the New Mexico State Police. Subsequent to the training being completed, the pilot took three members of the State Police on an orientation flight for the purpose of demonstrating the capabilities of the air medical helicopter to approach and land at the scene of an accident.
During a telephone interview, the pilot reported to the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC), that no anomalies were noted with the helicopter during preflight, start, run-up, takeoff, and the flight to the New Mexico State Police office. He further reported that no anomalies were noted during the accident flight run-up and takeoff.
The pilot stated that after a maximum performance takeoff (to clear wires) to the southwest from the parking lot at the State Police Office, the flight departed the area to the west and climbed to an altitude of 5,500 feet msl. After selecting a landing zone, he turned northwest toward the area and initiated a descent. The pilot further stated that his intention was to bring the helicopter to a high hover, allow the dust to settle, and then land.
As the helicopter descended to about 200 feet agl, at an airspeed of 115-120 knots, he initiated a right turn into the wind. As the helicopter was turning, he realized the turn was "too steep" and tried to shallow the turn; however, the cyclic would not move. At one point he tried to neutralize the cyclic with both hands but to no avail. He did not remember any "stiffness with the collective," he was more concerned with the cyclic. Also, he did not hear a warning horn or see any lights illuminate. Subsequently, the helicopter impacted the ground. The pilot reported that there was "nothing wrong with the engine."
During a telephone interview, the pilot reported to the FAA inspector, that during the accident flight he decided to show the officers how the helicopter would arrive on an accident scene. He started a descent and entered a right hand turn at a 25 to 35 degree bank angle. The pilot stated that it seemed to be about 2-G's positive as he tightened the turn to make the landing area. He further stated that "the turn was a little steep," and as he tried to shallow the turn, the cyclic control froze and would not move. He stated that he thought the airspeed was less than 100 knots.
During an interview, the surviving passenger reported to the FAA inspector, that the takeoff from the substation was near vertical to clear the area, then the aircraft accelerated and headed eastbound (into the wind) before turning westbound and proceeding along Highway 70. The officers were not wearing headsets, but could communicate with the pilot by speaking loudly. The passenger further reported that "the pilot remarked that the aircraft was very maneuverable, and asked if they wanted to see what the aircraft could do." The passenger also reported that she "did not think the pilot was showing off, or that any of the maneuvers were violent, or there was any reason to be concerned for her safety."
The accident site was located using a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver at 33 degrees 25 minutes 13.6 seconds north latitude and 104 degrees 39 minutes 32.2 seconds west longitude. The accident site was approximately one mile north of US Highway 70's mile post 325 on the Marley Ranch, approximately 4.3 miles west of Roswell, at an elevation of 3,822 feet.
Examination of the accident site revealed that the helicopter's rotor blades struck the ground seven times on a magnetic heading of 340 degrees for a distance of 76 feet. There was a large ground scar approximately 40 feet beyond the last rotor blade scar. The helicopter came to rest on its right side about 375 feet from the initial rotor blade scar. The tail boom was separated from the fuselage and was found approximately 140 feet prior to the fuselage, and the tail rotor intermediate drive shaft was found between the tail boom and the fuselage. Both skids and cross tubes were separated from the fuselage. The fuel tank was found approximately 20 feet beyond the fuselage. There were numerous items of wreckage strewn about the area.
1. NTSB: http://www.ntsb.gov/aviationquery/brief2.aspx?ev_id=20011025X02148&ntsbno=FTW02FA017&akey=1
2. FAA: http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?omni=Home-N-Number&nNumberTxt=111DT
||Dr. John Smith
||Updated [Time, Cn, Operator, Location, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]|
||ASN Update Bot
||Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]|