FTW93LA081
FTW93LA081

On February 8, 1993, at approximately 1400 central standard time, a Bell 206L1, N2244W, was substantially damaged when it impacted the water while maneuvering after takeoff from an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The departure point was a platform positioned in Vermillion 39. The commercial pilot and the two passengers received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the 14 CFR Part 135 operation.

According to the pilot, he took off from the helideck and after attaining 60 knots airspeed and 200 feet of altitude, he entered a left turn. He stated that during the turn, he diverted his attention inside the cockpit and the aircraft began to settle. He stated that he leveled the aircraft and began a deceleration prior to water impact. Three witnesses positioned three decks below the departure platform observed and reported seeing the helicopter dive off the helideck and make an estimated 45 degree left banking turn before it impacted the water. The pilot did not state why he attempted the nose down maneuver. The witnesses stated that the aircraft remained in the left bank until water impact and that one main rotor blade was the first part of the aircraft to impact the water. Damage was sustained to the left front quadrant of the fuselage. The passenger seated in the left front seat of the helicopter confirmed the witnesses statements concerning the aircraft's attitude and stated that he neither saw warning lights nor heard warning horns before water impact. The pilot stated that the engine and rotor RPM appeared normal, as did the oil pressures.

Following recovery of the aircraft wreckage, the engine and drive train were torn down and examined, under the direction of an FAA inspector, by the PHI repair facility. No evidence of pre impact failure or malfunction was found during the examination.

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