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NTSB Prelim Released In Wyoming Helo Accident

No Injuries, But Unlicensed Pilot Fled The Scene

This is one of those stories that is just a little bizarre, and which could have had much, much more serious consequences. A mechanic who had been issued a student pilot certificate in 1988 was flying a Bell 407 with passengers on board, and (big surprise) went down during the so-called joyride. It was apparently not the first time he'd flown the helo with passengers on board. Fortunately, no one on the helicopter was seriously injured. The (non) pilot took off without reporting the accident, and was later apprehended in another state.

NTSB Identification: WPR12LA065
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 13, 2011 in Rock Springs, WY
Aircraft: BELL 407, registration: N8067Z
Injuries: 5 Minor.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On December 13, 2011, about 1620 mountain standard time, a Bell 407, N8067Z, was maneuvering at a low altitude and airspeed near the residence of some of the passengers when it descended into an open field about 12 miles west-northwest of the Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Airport, Rock Springs, Wyoming. The helicopter impacted the ground hard and was substantially damaged. The helicopter’s landing gear skids and lower cabin structure were deformed, and the tail boom was severed. Guardian Flight, South Jordan, Utah, owned and operated the helicopter. The pilot and four passengers sustained minor injuries. The flight was performed under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight began from Rock Springs about 1600.

The passengers reported that the pilot, who was an employee of Guardian Flight, immediately departed the scene. The pilot has not reported the accident to the National Transportation Safety Board. Guardian Flight management personnel reported that the pilot was not authorized to fly the helicopter, and he was employed as their Rock Springs helicopter mechanic. Law enforcement authorities reported they apprehended the pilot in another state. Federal Aviation Administration personnel reported that the pilot was issued a student pilot certificate in 1988, and they have no record of him holding any additional pilot certificate. He does hold a mechanic certificate with airframe and powerplant ratings and inspection authorization.

An acquaintance of the accident pilot reported that he observed the pilot flying N8067Z on several previous occasions for personal reasons. Passengers were carried during these “joy rides.”

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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