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Heli-Ski Accident

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CADORS: Report

Record # 1
CADORS Number:


Occurrence Category(ies):

  • Loss of control - inflight
  • Unknown or undetermined

Occurrence Information
Occurrence Type:


Occurrence Date:


Occurrence Time:

2300 Z

Day Or Night:






Canadian Aerodrome ID:

Aerodrome Name:

Occurrence Location:



British Columbia

TC Region:

Pacific Region



World Area:

North America

Reported By:

  • Transportation Safety Board of Canada

AOR Number:

TSB Class Of Investigation:

Class 5

TSB Occurrence No:


Occurrence Event Information

Aircraft Information
Registration Mark:


Foreign Registration:

Flight #:

Flight Rule:


Aircraft Category:


Country of Registration:





AS 350 BA

Year Built:


Amateur Built:


Engine Make:


Engine Model:


Engine Type:

Turbo shaft

Gear Type:


Phase of Flight:





TRK Helicopters (B.C.) Ltd.



Operator Type:


CARs Subpart:


Aircraft Event Information
  • Loss of control - inflight
  • Collision with terrain

Occurrence Summary
Date Entered:



TSB#A16P0045: C-FBLW, a TRK Helicopters Aerospatiale AS350 BA helicopter, was operated under contract to SKEENA Heli-Ski from the Bear Creek Lodge, BC, about 82 nautical miles north west of Smithers, BC. The flight was returning to base camp in the late afternoon with a pilot and 6 passengers on board. As the pilot was maneuvering the helicopter close to the steepening terrain, the cyclic control was moved forward. The nose of the helicopter pitched down and the speed increased to Vne (+/-). The pilot then moved the cyclic back and left, however the helicopter rolled right and pitched up. The cyclic stick was difficult to move, and the helicopter collided with terrain on a steep snow covered slope. The main rotor blades cut a swath through the deep snowpack on the left side, and continued to turn until the pilot shut down the engine (Honeywell LTS 101-700D-2) and applied the rotor brake. All occupants appeared uninjured and expedited egress to the left side due to the steep, downhill slope on the right side. The helicopter was substantially damaged, but the ELT was not triggered to send out an emergency signal.


Further Action Required:


Please note that for the most part, CADORS reports contain preliminary, unconfirmed data which can be subject to change

I'm surprised everyone lived thru this. Thankfully doesn't look like any major injuries. VNE +/- is an odd airspeed?

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Guest JetboxJockey

Showboating and got into servo transparency.


I saw the TSB video one of the skiers shot on Friday. They are all very lucky to be alive.


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Guest JetboxJockey

I would like to see the video


Contact TSB Canada.


The only reason I saw the video. Was because the TSB investigator was giving a presentation at our offices.

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Showboating and got into servo transparency.


I saw the TSB video one of the skiers shot on Friday. They are all very lucky to be alive.




Not only that, but it's *textbook* set-up for a servo transparency accident, taken straight from every safety memo I've ever read.


High airspeed?


Aggressive cyclic input?


Too close to terrain to recover?


Honestly, events like this are why I'm all for FDM in the cockpit. Management can put out as many memos as they want, it can be drilled into us pilots during annual recurrent 'till the cows come home, and still you get guys going out and setting themselves up like this. May as well have gone and purposely entered Vortex Ring on every landing...


Fact remains, there's zero oversight once we're out in the field, short of a customer complaint or an incident.

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What are the pressures faced by the pilot on a heli-ski job when there is an expectation of a certain style of flight as part of the "Experience" for the customer? Its easy to blame the pilot straight out, but I think there are a lot of other factors involved to allow this to happen. Customers rarely know when they are being exposed to risk, and when acceptance of risk becomes a Norm there may be no checks in place to prevent the thin line between "Experience" for the customer and accident from being crossed. It does seem to clearly be a pilot decision issue, but that can't be the only reason this happened.

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It is the only reason this happened. The customer didn't reach up and put the cyclic inputs in for the pilot. This is an issue. The "ride" is being in a helicopter. This is a tool of the job not a toy. I don't hear about taxi drivers doing donuts with customers on board. I have seen videos of these guys on Instagram doing these types of things this year. It the management isn't aware they aren't looking and don't care to. This could have killed 7 people. Heli ski is already dangerous enough. That why you need high time to deal with the pressure from the guides and customers so why is the blame being deflected to the clients and customers when we are supposed to have the experience to say no?


Time to put on about big boy pants and run this like a long term career/business and not so you get free drinks at the lodge that night...

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