NTSB Identification: MIA06FA022A
Accident occurred Sunday, November 20, 2005 in Homestead, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2007
Aircraft: Aerospatiale AS350B, registration: N264BH
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Uninjured.
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 aircraft accident report.
Both helicopters were on approach to the Speedway Heliport at night when they collided. The EC 130 B4 helicopter was on a long straight-in final flying eastbound, and the AS-350B helicopter was turning from right base onto final approach to the east. The AS-350 helicopter was slightly above and to the right of the EC 130 B4 helicopter; the main rotor blades of the EC 130 B4 helicopter contacted the left skid of the AS-350B helicopter. The EC 130 B4 helicopter descended vertically, while the AS-350B helicopter landed on grass at the heliport. Numerous witnesses saw external lights illuminated on both helicopters before the collision. The position lights and taxi light of the EC 130 B4 helicopter were on at the time of impact; the landing light was previously burned out. The position lights, strobe light, and search light of the AS-350B helicopter were reportedly on at the time of the collision. The individual providing VFR advisory service advised that before the collision, he observed the AS-350B helicopter, but never saw the EC 130 B4 helicopter. Both pilots had established two-way communication with the individual providing VFR advisory service on the unauthorized frequency being utilized, but the pilot of the EC 130 B4 helicopter reportedly did not provide a position report on the initial contact. The pilot of the AS-350B helicopter reportedly never heard communications from the pilot of the EC 130 B4 helicopter, and he did not see the other helicopter before the collision. Pyrotechnics occurred immediately before the collision in the area of the collision. Impact damage to the power supply of the upper strobe light for the EC 130 B4 helicopter precluded consistent operation during postaccident testing; the strobe light operationally tested satisfactory. The heliport operational procedures did not specify a single-point entry, nor reporting points, but did state that every effort shall be made to arrive via the east/west oriented canal that was located south of the heliport. Safety briefings suggested in Advisory Circular (AC) 00-61 were not conducted, nor was flight-testing to verify whether there were any issues related to installation of temporary lighting.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The failure of both pilot's to maintain visual lookout resulting in the mid-air collision. A factor in the accident was the failure of the AS-350B pilot to follow approach procedures suggested in the Speedway Heliport Operations Manual. Findings in the investigation were the intentional operation of the EC 130 B4 helicopter by the pilot with known deficiencies in equipment (inoperative landing light), and failure of Speedway Heliport personnel to: 1) conduct a safety briefing in advance of the race, 2) flight test temporary lighting to see whether any issues exist, and 3) require a single point entry and reporting point for approach to the heliport. Full narrative available
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