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NTSB Investigates Loss-of-control Accidents Among Lightweight Helicopters 8 pages. [PDF 72K]
Robinson Helicopter Co. R22s had more fatal loss-of-control (LOC) accidents per flight hour between 1981 and 1994 than other helicopter models that also had fatal LOC accidents. Since changes were made in R22 and R44 operations and training requirements these aircraft have had no further fatal LOC accidents. Nevertheless, concern remains about the development of other highly responsive helicopters.
Fuel exhaustion and mechanical malfunction together accounted for the majority of agricultural-helicopter engine power–loss accidents. Other significant accident categories included obstacle strikes, malfunction other than loss of power and loss of control.
Pilot Asphyxiated by Headset Cable After Surviving Failures of Seat and Harness 8 pages. [PDF 127K]
The failure of the seat reduced the pilot’s probability of surviving the accident, the official accident investigation report said. Yet the seat met the specifications that were in effect at the time the helicopter had been certified in the United Kingdom, and which still applied to the accident aircraft, although current specifications were more stringent.
Helicopter Autopilots Demand Careful Management 6 pages. [PDF 209K]
Increasingly, helicopters are equipped with autopilots. When an autopilot’s operation is understood by the pilot, safety is enhanced. If the autopilot’s operation is not fully understood, the consequence can be an incident or accident.
Wire strikes continue to be one of the most significant hazards to helicopter operations. A solar-powered, highly reflective marker makes all wire types easier to identify at night.
Descent Below Normal Surveillance Altitude Ends in Fatal Wire Strike 4 pages. [PDF 52K]
While flying over a frozen river in search of illegal fishing operations, the Canadian Coast Guard helicopter struck an unmarked power line. The pilot was killed and three passengers were injured in the accident.