On November 10, 2002, about 1140 mountain standard time, an Aerospatiale AS350B, N909WA, collided with a transmission line while performing a low altitude maneuver and impacted the terrain near Kingman, Arizona. Wolfe Air Aviation, LTD. was operating the helicopter under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The commercial pilot was not injured and the two passengers sustained minor injuries; the helicopter sustained substantial damage. The local flight departed Kingman airport about 10 minutes prior to the accident for the purpose of shooting an aerial photographic sequence. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In a written statement, the pilot reported that he was transporting a film crewmember and a pilot-rated flight crewmember for the purpose of filming an in-motion motor home for the "Ripley's Believe It or Not" television series. Prior to departure, he briefed both the passenger and crewmember on the necessity of monitoring the flight path, watching for obstructions while operations were underway. While maneuvering the helicopter at 500 feet above ground level (agl), the pilot followed the motor home as it traveled down Route 66. He stayed on the east side of the highway in an effort to insure separation from the telephone lines that ran parallel to the highway on the west side.
The pilot further stated that as the filming continued, he manipulated the helicopter into an out-of-ground-effect hover and then input a 30-degree crab angle, which gave the best filming angle for the camera. About 60 to 75 feet agl, as the motor home became abeam the helicopter, the pilot initiated forward flight and caught glimpse of a cable directly in the flight path. The pilot initiated rapid deceleration, but the helicopter impacted the cables and plummeted toward the terrain below. After egressing the helicopter, the pilot noted that a 100 to 125 meter cable was strung from the west side of the highway over to a location east of the helicopter's flight path.
The operator reported no pre impact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter.