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"Helicopter pilot was fighting wind in fatal crash


The Canadian Press


Saturday, July 15, 2006


GRANDE PRAIRIE - Federal investigators say a helicopter that crashed near a remote ranger tower in northern Alberta earlier this month was having problems in windy conditions and was trying to land.


Transportation Safety Board investigator Bill Kemp said the Bell 206 helicopter had just taken off from the Nose Mountain tower on July 3, and veered right as it headed towards the brow of a hill.


Kemp said the pilot was forced to land 100 metres from the takeoff site to avoid colliding with the hill or losing control. But when it hit the ground, the helicopter rolled over, causing the main rotor to detach and pierce the cabin.


The helicopter was carrying the pilot and three firefighters, who were on patrol for forest blazes.


One of the firefighters, 20-year-old Darcy Moses of Valleyview, died from his injuries.


The Nose Mountain tower is 65 kilometres southwest of Grande Prairie.


Kemp said investigators are now examining the performance capabilities of the helicopter to determine if that was a factor in the crash.


The day after the crash, another helicopter went down at a remote lake 380 kilometres north of Edmonton, killing pilot Dave Naar, 35, of Niagara Falls, Ont.


© The Edmonton Journal 2006"

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No speculation, no nothing here. But I'd just asked about "how windy is too windy for safe flight?" on another thread around here recently; don't even remember where and I do know that many variables come into play in such scenarios/incidents. Regardless, such awful tragedies so early in mid-season. Ya'll be careful up and out there.

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It's not so much a question of wind velocity as it is about instability. I've flown a 206 in sustained 45 kt winds. No big deal, although landing in translation is "interesting". When you have a spread greater than say 10 or 15 knots between your wind and gusts, then things can get ugly in a hurry, especially on takeoff and landing in confined areas. When its gusty, you'll get lateral and vertical drafts that can trap you.


As far as thid particular event goes, nonoe of us was there, so speculate as we may, it remains speculation.

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4 people in a JetRanger and who knows how much fuel plus fire gear.


I think it's time that ASRD (and other agencies) start realizing that 4 people in a JetRanger for initial attack isn't safe. It just doesn't leave any power for such incidents. :down:


As well, companies and pilots have to know when to say 'no' and alter the plan accordingly (i.e. leave 1 or 2 pax behind and come back for them).


Overgross situations shouldn't be happening in this day and age. We should all know better by now.

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aircaft 1850 ? 4 people 750? gear 200? fuel 280? (40 USG)


I think in this day and age that 750 lbs for 4 people is being generous. Not to many of us weigh in at 187.5 lbs anymore... (At least some of us don't!!)


I agree it's speculation, but 4 people in a jetbox doing IA does not compute!


I think it's time that ASRD (and other agencies) start realizing that 4 people in a JetRanger for initial attack isn't safe.


Let's all pull up our socks and quit playing the hero, when there is bigger and better aircraft out there to do the job.

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