NTSB Identification: NYC95GA060.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 22, 1995 in CAMBRIDGE, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/12/1995
Aircraft: EUROCOPTER AS-350-B, registration: N20SP
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

: NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

A MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE (MSP) HELICOPTER DEPARTED A HELIPORT WITH TWO CREWMEMBERS & TWO PASSENGERS, & CLIMBED TO ABOUT 600' OVER A RIVER. WITNESSES REPORTED SEEING A PUFF OF "SMOKE" (OR VAPOR) FROM THE ENGINE EXHAUST. THE HELICOPTER WAS OBSERVED TO TURN TOWARD THE RIVER BANK & DESCEND AT AN ANGLE BETWEEN 45 & 70 DEGREES. WITNESSES STATED THAT THE MAIN ROTOR BLADES WERE EITHER TURNING SLOWLY OR HAD STOPPED PRIOR TO THE HELICOPTER COLLIDING WITH A BOAT HOUSE ROOF. NO PREIMPACT FAILURE OF THE MAIN ROTOR OR TRANSMISSION WAS FOUND. EXAMINATION OF THE ENGINE REVEALED THAT FIVE OF THE SIX FUEL INJECTION PORTS WERE CLOGGED. SAMPLES FROM THE HELICOPTER FUEL SYSTEM CONTAINED IRON OXIDE & WATER. THE MSP HAD A 6,000 GALLON IN-GROUND FUEL STORAGE TANK THAT HAD NOT BEEN MAINTAINED OR SECURED IN 14 YEARS (EXCEPT FOR A FILTER CHANGE BETWEEN 1984 AND 1986). FUEL SAMPLES FROM THE STORAGE TANK CONTAINED HIGH LEVELS OF RUST & WATER, AS WELL AS DEGRADED THERMAL PROPERTIES. FURTHER INVESTIGATION REVEALED THAT THERE WAS A LACK OF OVERSIGHT IN THE MSP AIR OPERATIONS & NO TRAINING, SAFETY, OR FUEL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM. RECORDS SHOWED THAT IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS, THE MSP PROVIDED THE PILOT WITH ONLY ONE TRAINING SESSION THAT CONSISTED OF A TW0 DAY GROUND SCHOOL & ONE FORMAL TRAINING FLIGHT.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

1) THE MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE (MSP) MANAGEMENT'S FAILURE TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE OVERSIGHT OF ITS AIR WING; 2) FUEL CONTAMINATION AND OBSTRUCTED FUEL INJECTOR NOZZLES, DUE TO INADEQUATE FUEL STORAGE AND STORAGE REQUIREMENTS BY THE MSP, RESULTING IN A LOSS OF ENGINE POWER; AND 3) THE FAILURE OF THE PILOT TO EXECUTE A PROPER AUTOROTATION, WHICH RESULTED IN A LOSS OF ROTOR RPM AND SUBSEQUENT LOSS OF HELICOPTER CONTROL.

Full narrative available

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