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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 197472
Last updated: 19 September 2021
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Time:c. 16:40 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic B407 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell 407
Owner/operator:Virginia State Police
Registration: N31VA
MSN: 53465
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Charlottesville, VI -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature:Aerial patrol
Departure airport:Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO)
Destination airport:Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO)
A statement of the Virginia State Police said: 'Shortly before 5pm today (August 12), a helicopter crashed into a wooded area near a residence on Old Farm Road. There are two confirmed fatalities. No one on the ground was injured.'
The accident site was near the Birdwood Golf Course, 7 miles from the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport. The helicopter had been engaged in monitoring violent protests connected with a white supremacist rally in the town. The helicopter left Charlottesville airport at 3:54 p.m. and was over downtown until 4:42 p.m. It then went to provide support for a motorcade carrying Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The first 911 call for the crash came at 4:44 p.m.

The last observed radar coverage indicates that the accident helicopter was travelling north/northeast at about 30 knots (34 mph) at an altitude of 2,300 feet. The helicopter’s vertical flight path was about 45 degrees when it descended into trees. The main wreckage came to rest about 100 yards from where the aft portion of the tail boom became lodged in a tree.

Among the facts contained in the preliminary report are:

Radar data indicated that just prior to the accident the helicopter was flying north-northwest at an altitude of approximately 2,200 feet above mean sea level before it began to turn to the right and descend rapidly.
Security camera video shows the helicopter spinning in a nose down pitch attitude before it descended into trees.
All the main helicopter components were recovered at the accident site but most were damaged by crash forces and a post-impact fire.
The debris field was several hundred feet long. The fuselage came to rest on the ground, the tail rotor was located in a tree, and some components of the helicopter were recovered from the roof of a nearby house.
No evidence was observed to suggest that the helicopter was struck by another aircraft, animal or object.
The wreckage was retained by the National Transportation Safety Board for further examination.

NTSB Probable Cause: The pilot's loss of helicopter control after entry into vortex ring state, leading to a high rate of descent to the ground with a right spin. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's lack of recent and recurrent training in vortex ring state recognition and recovery.


Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: 
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report
Other occurrences involving this aircraft

11 May 2010 N31VA Virginia State Police 0 Abingdon, VA sub



Revision history:

12-Aug-2017 22:35 Iceman 29 Added
12-Aug-2017 22:38 Iceman 29 Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Nature, Embed code]
12-Aug-2017 22:42 Iceman 29 Updated [Operator, Total occupants, Embed code]
13-Aug-2017 08:20 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
13-Aug-2017 08:36 Iceman 29 Updated [Source, Embed code]
13-Aug-2017 09:26 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Phase, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
13-Aug-2017 13:50 Aerossurance Updated [Registration, Cn, Source, Narrative]
14-Aug-2017 19:45 harro Updated [Source, Narrative]
14-Aug-2017 20:08 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
14-Aug-2017 20:11 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
06-Sep-2017 15:05 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
18-Jul-2020 11:05 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
18-Jul-2020 11:13 Aerossurance Updated [Embed code]

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