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Accident Report Detail

Weather Encounter and Subsequent Crash into the Pacific Ocean, Heli-USA Airways, Inc., Aerospatiale AS350BA, N355NT

Executive Summary

​On September 23, 2005, about 1415 Hawaiian standard time, an Aerospatiale AS350BA helicopter, N355NT, registered to Jan Leasing, LLC, and operated by Heli- USA Airways, Inc., of Las Vegas, Nevada, encountered adverse weather and crashed into the Pacific Ocean several hundred feet off the coast of Kailiu Point, near Haena, Hawaii, on the island of Kauai. The sightseeing air tour flight was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135 and visual flight rules (VFR) with a company flight plan in effect. Localized instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed in the vicinity of the accident site. Three passengers were killed, and the commercial pilot and two other passengers received minor injuries. The flight departed from Lihue Airport (LIH), Lihue, Hawaii, on the island of Kauai, at 1354 for the intended 45-minute tour.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the pilot’s decision to continue flight into adverse weather conditions, which resulted in a loss of control due to an encounter with a microburst. Contributing to the accident was inadequate Federal Aviation Administration surveillance of Special Federal Aviation Regulation 71 operating restrictions. Contributing to the loss of life in the accident was the lack of helicopter flotation equipment.

Accident Location: Haena , HI    
Accident Date: 9/23/2005
Accident ID: SEA05MA199

Date Adopted: 3/5/2007
NTSB Number: AAB-07-01
NTIS Number: