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Thu, Oct 06, 2011

Rotor Damage Found On Helicopter Which Went Down In The East River

NTSB Says Pilot Made Flight Under Part 91 Rules

The NTSB has recovered the wreckage of a Bell 206B helicopter which went down Tuesday in the East River in New York City, and part of the investigation is focusing on a broken main rotor blade, according to NTSB Member Mark Rosekind.

Rosekind (L), Lead Investigator Ralph Hicks (YouTube)

Rosekind spoke to members of the media Tuesday in New York City. He said the mostly-intact aircraft has been recovered from the river and moved to a secure facility at Floyd Benett Field, and that a part of one of the main rotor blades was "missing." Rosekind said it has not been determined whether the blade was damaged before the aircraft went down, or as the result of the impact with the water.

In the briefing posted by the NTSB to Youtube, Rosekind said that video has been identified from multiple sources and is being reviewed. Witnesses have also been identified and interviewed. In an initial interview, the pilot told investigators that he has 2,200 hours total flight time. 1,500 in helicopters, 500 in Bell 206s over the past 5 years. He did report having a problem immediately after takeoff, though Rosekind would not be specific about what kind of problem had been reported.

Rosekind stressed that the flight was conducted under Part 91 of the FARs, meaning that it was not part of a helicopter tour operation, nor was it revenue-generating for the pilot. He said investigators will be looking at the weather, as winds can have a significant effect on helicopter operations. The NTSB is also continuing to identify witnesses and conduct interviews with them.

Parties to the investigation include the FAA, Rolls-Royce, and Bell Helicopter, which will participate as a technical advisor in the investigation through the Canadian Transportation Safety Board.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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