NTSB Identification: CEN14FA122
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Monday, January 27, 2014 in Silt, CO
Aircraft: BELL 206L 3, registration: N207DS
Injuries: 3 Fatal.
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. 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.
On January 27, 2014, about 1118 mountain standard time, a Bell model 206L-3 helicopter, N207DS, was destroyed when it impacted a wire and terrain near Silt, Colorado. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The aircraft was registered to and operated by Delta Bravo Sierra Inc. under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an on-demand air taxi flight. The helicopter was performing aerial surveillance of power tansmission lines when the accident occurred. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not on a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Garfield County Regional Airport (RIL), Rifle, Colorado about 1045.
The operator was contracted by Holy Cross Energy, a local power utility, to perform aerial surveillance of power transmission wires using an infrared camera to detect potential problem areas on the wires. The occupants of the helicopter consisted of the pilot, an employee of Holy Cross Energy, and an employee of HOT/SHOT Infrared Inspections, Inc. It was reported that the helicopter had completed one surveillance flight earlier in the day and landed at RIL where it was refueled before departing on the accident flight. The accident occurred about 3 miles east of RIL. The power lines that were being surveilled by the helicopter at the time of the accident ran in a predominately north-south direction. Another set of power lines owned by Xcel Energy ran in a predominately east-west direction and crossed above the Holy Cross Energy power lines. Two parallel static wires ran from the top of each Xcel Energy tower to the next tower. The helicopter struck the south static wire and subsequently impacted the ground. A witness reported seing the helicopter heading south just prior to the accident.
According to a representative of HOT/SHOT Infrared Inspections, Inc., the contract with Holy Cross Energy required video recording of the entire flight. During examination of the wreckage, two recording devices were found and retained for further examination. One of the recording devices had a secure digital (SD) memory card installed. The SD card slot of the other recording device was empty. A second SD card was not located during the wreckage examination.
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