Pilot Was Among Those Lost In Crash
Editor's Note: Below is the
unedited text of the National Transportation Safety Board's
preliminary report on the
fatal August 5 downing of a Sikorsky S-61
helicopter on takeoff near Redding, CA, that
claimed nine of the 13 people onboard.
NTSB Identification: LAX08PA259
14 CFR Public Use
Accident occurred Tuesday, August 05, 2008 in Redding, CA
Aircraft: Sikorsky S-61N, registration: N612AZ
Injuries: 9 Fatal, 4 Serious.
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 August 5, 2008, at 1941 Pacific daylight time, a Sikorsky,
S-61N helicopter, N612AZ, experienced a loss of power to the main
rotor during takeoff initial climb, and subsequently impacted trees
and terrain near Redding, California. Postimpact fire destroyed the
helicopter. The airline transport pilot and 8 passengers were
fatally injured, and the commercial copilot and 3 passengers were
The helicopter was being operated under contract to the United
States Forest Service by Carson Helicopter Services, Inc., as a
public-use flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for
the cross-country flight that was originating at the time of the
accident. A company visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan had been
filed. The helicopter was departing from Helispot 44 (H-44,
elevation 5,935 feet) en route to Helispot 36 (H-36, elevation
2,516 feet) when the accident occurred.
The helicopter had been assigned to transport approximately 50
wildland firefighter helitack crewmembers out of the Trinity Alps
Wilderness of the Shasta Trinity National Forest due to forecasted
worsening weather conditions. The helicopter had completed two
trips, and had gone to Trinity Helibase to refuel. After it had
refueled, it returned to H-44 for its third load of passengers.
During departure, the helicopter impacted trees and subsequently
terrain, coming to rest on its left side. A postcrash fire consumed