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1996 Anderson Accident

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For those of you who knew Ray, the civil suit (The Two Widows Vs EC) has just been settled out of court in favor of the Widows. The prosecuting team had pointed out several other accident/incidents worldwide over the same type of inadvertant throttle lever movement to idle or ICO.

So the moral of this sad story is: ...If you wanna fly a DeathStar, guard your throttle area!!!



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Hi 407DM,

I know you were very much involved with this incident, so if it doesn''t disturb you too much, please clarify a few points for me.


You seem very concerned about the throttle of the A-Star, and it appears that the prosecutors also had concerns about past events. Also it seems EC would rather settle out of court than discuss (or defend) this matter in court.


However, the TSB report that you link to says........"it was concluded that the throttle lever was forced into the aft, closed position as a result of the impact forces when the helicopter struck the ground."

It then says in it''s conclusions....."The engine flamed out, likely as a result of snow ingestion."


...So, did the TSB really miss something here that we (and the TSB) should know about??

...Why did EC settle this case as though it was a failure of the throttle system, rather than defend it as a case of snow ingestion??


Do you know the answer to this apparent contradiction yet, or should we wait for EC (hopefully) to make an announcement.


Thanks in anticipation of your reply,


P.S. Any other information from other writers would also be appreciated, however out of respect for Ray and his fellow victims can we please keep the usual jovial mud-slinging between favourite brands to a minimum and stick to the facts that are known about these incidents. Thanks.



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The details of settlement are confidential, all that I was told on the settlement situation was what I have posted.

The prosecuting team was focused on the throttle position, IN SPITE of what was published in the TSB report. The team came up with several other world incidents of a similar nature, and evidently had built a strong enough case against the EC theories (of bad Wx, snow ingestion) that EC decided to settle prior to reaching the courtroom.


A few points of the case that I knew of...

Re: The witnesses report from the mining camp who saw Ray enter the valley, ...I was standing beside them that next AM when they told us where they saw Ray in very bad Wx, they pointed to a ridge over 2 KM away where thay had last seen him fly, Bad Wx? Not likely!


EC's "expert pilot" on local Wx and conditions of that day was a very loyal customer of theirs who is based about 250 miles south of the location...and who has NEVER flown in this area.

The prosecution had a white haired old pilot with 13,000 local hours, 15 years on that particular job, ....and 4 hours locally that same day, who flew the initial search that evening, and who found the aircraft the next AM.


Enough said.


I can't see EC making any public announcements on this.



I'm very glad that the outcome was positive for Rays widow, Gudrun and their 8 year old daughter, and the customers wife and her 8 and 6 year old sons ( Yes, the 6 year old never ever met his father, he was born about 3 months after this accident)


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Hey there 407 dude,


A few Questions for you.


1- Were the AS350 throttle guards available before this accident. Am I correct to assume that none were installed in the fleet prior.


2-Snow Filters. Were they also available for this type prior to the accident. And, did the Company involved note the importance of having them installed during winter ops.


3-The true test of any company's integrity would be how they assist the families of those involved after such a tragic accident. How did this company treat the families in this situation.


Thanks in advance for the info.


(will understand if these are too delicate of questions)

Mom always said "if you have nothing goog to say, then say nothing at all"


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####, you speak as a true loyal EC employee...I'm going to cut into your last statements though....


"The guards were installed after the incident, as were the snow ingestion kits (sand filters)"




"It's applicable to note that CHC did take appropriate action to prevent further incidents of this nature"


They were always a reactive company Vs a proactive company, I'll let Dorothy know this next time I see her and her kids, I'm sure she'll be truly moved.


"but many designs always look good at first with the technology available at the time"


So, you're saying a collective mounted throttle was not available when the Astar was designed? I see that the B3 has gone to a collective mounted throttle, is this actually an admission that the floor mounted variety didn't work?...or have they become too cost prohibitave to continue (legally?)


"To go back and change an old design is cost prohibitive on everyones part unfortunately. Twist throttles could have been installed on every A-Star, but who had the resources, or the deep pockets to cover the cost?"


I wonder if the multi millions of $$$ in this settlement would have paid for a lot of mods? I'm sure that Eurocopter took a huge hit on the legal action in the Denmark and South African accidents of a similar nature as well. And What value do you (and EC) put on Ray and Georges lives?


"The only ones winning in reality are the lawyers"


You are correct here Mag!



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Mag, if it "wasn''t broken", then tell me why EC''s BUS-LOAD of high priced Lawyers chose to settle to the request and satisfaction of this little 2 man legal team? The EC legal team are no fly-by-nighters, they know their stuff, they have huge corporate finances, but they did decide to get out early when the "getting was good".


I say that it WAS broken, and if they got in front of a judge, they may have lost a lot more...plus the publicity of a huge settlement!



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I would like to point out that the pictures from Ray''s camera showed Sara and George walking down to the helicopter from the last site before the accident. The background was grey with NO snow. The next picture is of Ray and the helicopter with a grey background and NO snow on the helicopter.

Another thing I would like to say is that CHL. Eastern Div. had particle seperators and Western Div. didn''t at the time of the accident. Unmodified collective area guards were available for Geneva Two-place front seats. What ever was the cause it won''t bring back Ray. I am glad the EC settled and I hope that the widows and families can finally get some closure.


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