HISTORY OF FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On April 1, 1995, approximately 2120 central standard time, a Bell 206L-1 helicopter, N701EC, was substantially damaged during a precautionary landing after impacting a power line near Flower Mound, Texas. The airline transport rated pilot and three passengers received minor injuries, two passenger were seriously injured, and one passenger was fatally injured. The helicopter was being operated as a personal flight under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated earlier in the day from Dallas Love Field (DAL), Dallas, Texas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal night flight.
The pilot reported the following information to the investigator-in-charge. During a hovering turn to the north the pilot noted "excellent torque above 90 percent with good temp." The helicopter took off from the Circle R Ranch to the north. During the takeoff at approximately 100 feet above ground level (AGL), torque was reduced to 85 percent for the climb. The helicopter began to descend and power (collective) was increased to arrest the descent; however, the descent continued. To avoid houses and trees, the pilot initiated a turn to the east. As the pilot continued the turn towards the south over the Farm to Market (FM) 1171, he observed wires. The pilot "pitched up" the helicopter and increased collective to clear the wires. The pilot attempted to clear the wires; but, as the helicopter continued towards the south it struck the top wire. During the attempted landing the pilot determined he had tail rotor control and "stabilized" on an east heading. The pilot "believed" he had stopped forward movement. During the "set down", the helicopter "pitched right and went over on its side." During the descent and attempted landing it appeared to the pilot as if the helicopter had "some power" and the collective was "not reacting or was weak."
The Care Flight pilots that responded to the accident reported in the enclosed statements that the winds were southerly at approximately 10-15 knots.
A witness who was located northeast of the crash site observed the helicopter over the highway. She estimated its height to be above the tree line and it appeared to be "spinning out of control." She then observed the helicopter "dip" downward as it proceeded toward the southeast. The helicopter then briefly gained altitude before going into a "sharp decline" from about halfway between the north fence line and the point of impact. She reported the helicopter's lights were on and the "engine working."
A witness whose house the helicopter flew over reported he knew it was in trouble because the engine was "surging."
A review of the pilot's log book and helicopter's flight log revealed the pilot's last night flight was December 11, 1994. Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 61.57d states no person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise (as published in the American Air Almanac) unless, within the preceding 90 days, that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings to a full stop during that period in the category and class of aircraft to be used. See the enclosed copies of the pilot log book and helicopter flight log.
A review of the airframe and engine records did not reveal any anomalies or uncorrected maintenance defects. Weight and balance calculations were performed using data provided by the manufacturer. An estimate of the weight of 4,120 pounds at the time of the accident places the helicopter below its maximum gross weight of 4,150 pounds.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The initial ground scar was on a measured magnetic heading of 100 degrees, 15 feet from the main wreckage. A second ground scar was on a measured magnetic heading of 070 degrees at the main wreckage. The helicopter came to rest on it's right side, on a measured magnetic heading of 050 degrees.
The main transmission and roof support beam was torn from the helicopter. The tailboom was separated in two places and the engine remained partially attached by cables and oil/fuel/air lines.
A power line was found down 154 yards from the initial ground scar. The wire was surveyed at 30 feet above the ground. Scratch marks were found on 18 inches of the bottom aft portion of the left skid.
Examination of the aircraft did not disclose any mechanical anomalies. A successful engine run was accomplished in a test cell. The power turbine governor was replaced for the engine run because of the impact damage it sustained. See the enclosed wreckage diagram for wreckage distribution details.
The helicopter wreckage was released to the owner's representative.