On September 22, 2000, at 1330 mountain daylight time, a Bell 206B helicopter, N32FR, sustained substantial damage when it rolled over during a forced landing following a complete loss of engine power while conducting personnel pick up operations. The commercial pilot was not injured. The flight was operating under Title 14 CFR Part 91 and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed a remote sight approximately 6 miles northeast of Rawlins, at 1320, and the accident occurred approximately 35 miles northwest of Rawlins.

According to the operator, a decision had been made to cancel all flying for the day due to weather "considerations". A request was made to pick up two people but the pilot could not locate them. He elected to return to the staging area and was in cruise flight at about 200 feet when the engine lost all power. A downwind autorotation was performed and ground visibility was lost in the flare due to blowing snow. The helicopter was landed with a right drift and rolled on its side.

At the time of the accident, the recorded weather at Rawlins was 1,200 foot overcast skies with 3 miles visibility in snow and blowing snow. The temperature was 28 degrees Fahrenheit, and the dew point was 27 degrees. According to the pilot, the weather he was flying in was partial obscuration with 1/4-mile visibility in moderate snow showers and the wind was from 320 degrees at 12 knots with gusts to 20 knots.

The limitations in the flight manual for flying in snow require that both a particle separator and deflector be installed on the engine to prevent a flameout. According to the FAA inspector who examined the aircraft, a deflector was not installed.

Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsis
Return to Query Page