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Tue, May 15, 2018

NTSB Finds Pilot Error In Helicopter Collision At Van Nuys Airport

Landing Aircraft Struck Another Helicopter On The Ground While Performing Parking Maneuver

The NTSB has released a probable cause report from an incident involving two helicopters at Van Nuys (CA) Airport that substantially damaged both aircraft.

In an interview with the NTSB, the pilot of a Bell UH-1H reported that, while hovering the helicopter to park between three stationary helicopters, the ground crew gave him the signal for a 180° "pedal turn." As the helicopter was about to touch down, he felt a shudder in the airframe. He then immediately rolled the throttle closed and completed an emergency shutdown.

Postaccident examination revealed that the tail rotor blades struck the main blades of a stationary helicopter, which likely caused the shudder felt by the pilot.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tail rotor and main rotor systems.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation.

The NTSB found that the probably cause of the accident was the pilot's failure to maintain clearance from a stationary helicopter during landing. Contributing to the accident was the ground crew's failure to ensure that the helicopter would clear the stationary helicopter.

(NTSB image provided by the operator)

FMI: app.ntsb.gov/pdfgenerator/ReportGeneratorFile.ashx?EventID=20180116X54101&AKey=1&RType=HTML&IType=CA

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