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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 75120
Last updated: 21 February 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic S76 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Sikorsky S-76A
Owner/operator:Aero Med Spectrum Health
Registration: N176SH
C/n / msn: 760260
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Grand Rapids, MI -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Grand Rapids, MI (GRR)
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
The air ambulance helicopter was departing from a hospital heliport that was located on the 11th story of the hospital during an FAA Part 135 check. Before takeoff, the pilots discussed the construction cranes that were operating on the north side of the hospital and their effect on the approach and departure routes to the pad. The pilot reported that he lifted the helicopter straight up into a vertical takeoff. The torque was about 94 percent and "everything was nominal." The helicopter was about 40 feet in the air when the pilot heard a "pop" and the helicopter started to yaw to the right and vibrate. He attempted to land back on the helicopter pad by using the cyclic and lowering the collective, but the main rotor blades impacted the 32-foot high brick structure located east of the helicopter pad. The helicopter fell straight down impacting the hospital roof. Witnesses observed the helicopter lift off the helipad and then fly backwards until the tail rotor hit a tower on top of the roof. A hospital security video camera showed the helicopter fly backwards as it lifted off the helicopter pad. It showed that the tail rotor appeared to strike an object on one of the towers, and the tail rotor immediately shattered and the helicopter went into a right yaw. A camera that was mounted on one of the towers exhibited impact marks and carbon fibers were found lodged in a crevice of the camera body. Based on the analysis of the accident site, the helicopter traveled about 61 feet straight-line distance rearwards at an angle of about 41-51 degrees relative to the hospital pad. The time from takeoff to impact with the camera was about 11.37 seconds. The inspection of the helicopter revealed no preexisting anomalies that would preclude normal operation.
Probable Cause: The pilot's failure to maintain tail rotor obstacle clearance from a tower during takeoff.



Revision history:

13-Jun-2010 10:02 TB Added
13-Jun-2010 10:09 TB Updated [Date, Aircraft type]
14-Jun-2010 07:00 TB Updated [Date, Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total occupants, Location, Country, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative, Plane category, ]
28-Jun-2010 01:54 TB Updated [Registration]
21-Jul-2011 12:43 TB Updated [Operator, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:25 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
03-Dec-2017 10:49 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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