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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 17941
Last updated: 26 August 2021
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Date:09-OCT-1998
Time:23:05
Type:Silhouette image of generic AS55 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Eurocopter AS 355N Ecureuil II
Owner/operator:East Midlands Air Support Unit
Registration: G-EMAU
MSN: 5561
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:Sulby, near Welford, Northamptonshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:SU
Departure airport:Sulby police helipad, near Welford, Northamptonshire
Destination airport:Sulby police helipad,near Welford, Northamptonshire
Investigating agency: AAIB
Narrative:
Written off (destroyed) 9-10-1998 when crashed into woodland shortly after take off. Helicopter destroyed. Of the 3 Persons On Board, there was 1 fatality and 2 serious injuries. According to the following excerpt from the official AAIB report into the accident:

"The helicopter was destroyed by impact and post impact fire when it crashed in woods shortly after take-off from its base. The accident happened in darkness (23:05 hours Local) as the helicopter was going to assist in a car chase. The weather had been variable during the evening with periods of heavy rain; however, at the time the helicopter took-off the skies were clear with just some 'light mist' hanging over the near by fields.

After take-off the helicopter crossed the southwest corner of its base, in a 'gentle' right turn at a height of between 25 to 30 feet and at an airspeed of 15 to 20 knots. At this point the helicopter suddenly entered a fog bank and the pilot lost all outside visual reference. He immediately extinguished the helicopter's landing lights and switched to flight by reference to his instruments.

The pilot reported having some difficulty seeing the slip ball as the internal lighting for the AI was not serviceable and it was only being illuminated by an external pillar light. The pilot attempted to maintain level flight but he felt 'out of balance.' Shortly after this the helicopter hit trees and crashed. A fire broke out after the helicopter came to rest and it was destroyed".

Damage sustained to airframe: Per the AAIB report "helicopter destroyed". As a result, the registration G-EMAU was cancelled by the CAA on 23-12-1998 as "Permanently withdrawn from use"

Sources:

1. AAIB: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5422f0f9ed915d1374000351/dft_avsafety_pdf_500170.pdf
2. CAA: https://siteapps.caa.co.uk/g-info/rk=EMAU
3. http://www.griffin-helicopters.co.uk/accidentdetails.aspx?accidentkey=13517
4. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk/190543.stm_/default.stm
5. http://www.ukemergencyaviation.co.uk/G-EMAU.htm
6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_aviation_in_the_United_Kingdom#Incidents
7. [LINK NOT WORKING ANYMORE:http://coptercrazy.brinkster.net/search/se355show.asp?start=550&count=50]

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


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
17-May-2008 11:10 ASN archive Added
28-Dec-2008 23:13 anorak48a Updated
26-May-2013 02:23 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
25-Oct-2015 12:06 Aerossurance Updated [Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
28-Jun-2016 21:40 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description