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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 58507
Last updated: 5 December 2019
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Date:22-JAN-2005
Time:12:42 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic B06 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell 206B-3 JetRanger III
Owner/operator:Private
Registration: G-BXLI
C/n / msn: 4041
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:5 nm south of Taunton, Somerset -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Staverton, (EGBJ)
Destination airport:Torbay, Devon
Investigating agency: AAIB
Narrative:
The pilot had planned to fly with some friends from Staverton Airport, near Gloucester, to a private landing site in the Torbay area but, due to deteriorating weather, landed at Topsham to the south of Exeter Airport. After a period of several hours, the weather had not improved so the pilot decided to return to Staverton. Although on the outbound trip he had routed south via the Bristol Channel and the M5 corridor, an area of low lying terrain, he elected to return to Staverton via Sidmouth, and communicated this to Exeter ATC, advising them that he would be flying at an altitude of 900 feet.

As he approached Sidmouth, he then informed Exeter that he was going to go north towards Wellington and Taunton. This route would take the helicopter over the Blackdown Hills, which rise to a height of some 1,000 ft amsl. Witnesses in an area approximately 5 nautical miles south of Taunton generally heard, but did not clearly see, a low flying helicopter and one heard a ‘bang’.

A subsequent search and rescue effort failed to locate the helicopter, due to very poor weather conditions, and it was found by a dog walker the following morning. All four occupants had received fatal injuries in the accident. No pre-accident defects were found during the wreckage examination.

The investigation concluded that the helicopter’s flight path angle was some 26 degrees down just before it crashed. The combination of the aircraft’s estimated forward speed of 30 to 40 knots and this angle, would result in a rate of descent of approximately 1,500 feet per minute. This suggests that either the pilot was attempting to regain visual contact with the ground or, possibly, that he was aware that the north side of the Blackdown Hills are steep sided and believed that the helicopter was sufficiently far north to be able to descend through cloud to become visual with the ground over lower lying terrain.

This is one of 8 accidents that resulted in an EASA rule making team on in-flight recording for light aircraft.

Sources:

1. AAIB: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5422feb4e5274a1314000963/G-BXLI_1-06.pdf
2. CAA: https://siteapps.caa.co.uk/g-info/rk=BXLI
3. http://www.bellhelicopter.com/en/support/flightsafety/pdf/destroyed.pdf
4. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/somerset/4923240.stm
5. http://www.helicoptersafety.org/genericaccident.asp?ACType=B206
6. http://aerossurance.com/helicopters/easa-launch-rule-rumaking-team-flight-recording-light-aircraft/
7. https://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/160302-jet-ranger-down.html
8. http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/helicopter-crashed-in-bad-weather---21767
9. http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/factor200608.pdf
.

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: AAIB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration:
Download report: Final report


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
17-Jan-2009 11:34 harro Added
22-Sep-2012 19:21 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
02-Aug-2014 14:04 Aerossurance Updated [Source]
03-Aug-2014 07:24 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
03-Dec-2014 21:24 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
25-Oct-2015 14:17 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
08-Aug-2016 19:50 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source]
08-Aug-2016 19:50 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source]
08-Aug-2016 19:53 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]
25-Sep-2016 16:45 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Narrative]

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