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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 216922
Last updated: 16 April 2019
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Time:16:11 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic AS55 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Aerospatiale AS 355F2 Ecureuil
Owner/operator:Catalyst Aviation
Registration: N372CA
C/n / msn: 5028
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Clinton County, East Beekmantown, NY -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
The helicopter crashed during a Part 133 flight preparing to install a fibre optic cable alongside powerlines. News photos show debris caught in power lines and the power lines on fire. The helicopter was consumed by a post-crash fire and the 4 occupants were transported to hospital with unspecified injuries. The pilot and one passenger died.

The pilot and lineman were working on power lines that were supported by a series of two 75-foot-tall wooden utility poles connected by a wooden horizontal bar and two wooden cross bars. The power lines were oriented northwest/southeast.

The lineman, who survived the accident, stated that he had flown earlier that day in order to install a block on one of the utility poles. The block was a large pulley that would be used to pull fiber optic wire thru in the future. He said, that during that flight, the pilot, who was seated in the front right seat, had a hard time keeping the helicopter steady as he approached the pole because the "..wind was too strong." So, all they did was temporarily put the block on the wire and returned to base. The lineman sent a text message to his foreman during this flight and stated, "[The pilot] is very good. He just has horrible tailwind on the side we actually need to be on."

Prior to the flight to install the second block, the pilot, pilot-rated passenger and both linemen held a safety meeting. The surviving lineman said, "We all agreed the wind was too strong to complete the job. The full job would take us about 5-7 minutes." However, they all agreed that the wind was okay to just temporarily install the block like the first one. They departed with the surviving lineman seated in the aft left seat, and the other lineman was out on the bench, which was installed externally on the right side of the helicopter, in preparation to install the block. The surviving lineman said the pilot hovered for about 5 seconds to let the other lineman place the block on the line. He said, "As we approached, the helicopter skid hit the pole. [The pilot] hit the pole with the skid three times. The last time, [the pilot] hit real hard." The helicopter then rolled upside down into the power lines and caught on fire.

The linemen's foreman was on the ground and watched the helicopter make a 45° approach to the left side of the utility pole. As the helicopter got into place, the right skid was almost even with the top of the pole. The foreman observed the lineman, who was out on the bench, connect the static line, open the gate for the block, and place the block on the power line. As the lineman was trying to close the gate of the block, the helicopter's right skid struck the pole. The helicopter pulled away and then struck the pole harder a second time. The helicopter then struck the pole a third time and immediately rolled over to the right, and the main rotor blades struck the adjacent static line and top of the other pole. The body of the helicopter got entangled in the energized 115 kVA power lines and caught on fire.


Revision history:

31-Oct-2018 07:09 Anon. Added
31-Oct-2018 07:10 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Total fatalities, Location, Source, Narrative]
31-Oct-2018 07:14 harro Updated [Operator, Phase, Nature, Source, Narrative]
31-Oct-2018 07:38 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Nature, Source, Narrative]
31-Oct-2018 07:38 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
31-Oct-2018 07:58 Aerossurance Updated [Aircraft type, Embed code]
31-Oct-2018 15:18 harro Updated [Registration, Cn, Source, Embed code]
31-Oct-2018 18:07 Geno Updated [Location, Phase, Nature, Source]
03-Nov-2018 13:45 Aerossurance Updated [Nature, Source]
15-Nov-2018 14:37 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Source, Narrative]

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