On March 19, 1998, at 1740 hours Pacific standard time, a Bell 206B, N3186L, collided with a power line and crashed in a dry riverbed during an approach for landing in a field near Santa Clarita, California. The helicopter sustained substantial damage and the commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight and no flight plan was filed. The helicopter was operated by the Los Angeles City Fire Department as a public-use aircraft. The flight originated at the Van Nuys, California, airport at 1645. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In a written statement, the pilot reported that he was making a normal approach to the riverbed on a southwesterly heading directly into the sun. He reported that "moments before I hit the wires, I saw them and made an evasive maneuver to avoid them." He then clipped the wire with the main rotor blades and as he attempted to turn away, he clipped the tail rotor. The pilot stated that he then flew the helicopter to the ground and made ground contact in a level attitude. The helicopter landed hard and rolled over onto its right side.
The series of wires were at a measured height of 39 feet agl and spanned lengthwise approximately 1,200 feet between poles or other markings.
The sun and moon position information for the time of the accident showed the sun's position to be at 4.6 degrees above the horizon. The sun's azimuth was 252 degrees. Official sunset that evening was at 1808.