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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 43451
Last updated: 22 April 2019
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Type:Silhouette image of generic AS50 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Aérospatiale AS 350B1
Owner/operator:Sea-Link Helicopters
Registration: N350WM
C/n / msn: 2099
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Gulf of Mexico, 11 miles off Galveston, Texas -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Gulf Airport, Houston, Texas (SPX/KSPX)
Destination airport:Oil Tanker, Gulf of Mexico, 50 nm SE of Galveston, TX
Investigating agency: NTSB
On July 13, 1994, approximately 0838 central daylight time, an Aerospatiale AS350B1 helicopter, N350WM, was destroyed during a loss of control near Galveston, Texas, approximately 11 miles off shore in the Gulf of Mexico at latitude 29 degrees 10.4 minutes north and longitude 94 degrees 42.2 minutes west. All major components were recovered, except the vertical fin and tailrotor gearbox.

The commercial pilot was seriously injured and the four passengers were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the air taxi flight.

An interview with the pilot revealed the following information. He had flown the aircraft the day prior to the accident. The helicopter was refueled at Galveston Aero Flight Center, Scholes Field (GLS), Galveston, Texas, and returned to Houston Gulf Airport (SPX), Houston, Texas. The aircraft post flight did not reveal any maintenance problems.

The morning of the accident, the helicopter was preflighted and departed at 07:50 CDT to pick up four passengers at Galveston Aero Flight Center. One passenger had never flown with Sea Link; therefore, a full passenger briefing was given to all passengers. All of the passengers fastened their seat belts. The aircraft departed approximately 08:30 CDT for an oil tanker 50 nautical miles southeast of Galveston.

The pilot reported that the aircraft was climbing through "2,000 feet when a bump similar to turbulence was felt. Another bump was felt, followed by a more pronounced bump, and then aircraft control was lost."

The pilot further reported that prior to water impact, the aircraft recovered to an almost level attitude, but in a right skidding turn with the nose slightly down. The pilot estimated that it took 30 to 40 seconds from the start of the event to water impact. The airspeed did not get below 70 or 80 knots.

The pilot added that the cyclic felt like it was disconnected, but not loose. Both the cyclic and collective were unresponsive.

He stated that he flew with no friction on the cyclic and minimal on the collective. The engine appeared to be running normal, and there were no warning lights illuminated. The rotor RPM increased but did not overspeed.


1. NTSB:
2. FAA:

Revision history:

24-Oct-2008 10:30 ASN archive Added
02-Jul-2014 20:55 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Location, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]

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