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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ANC99LA141
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Friday, September 10, 1999 in JUNEAU, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/10/2000
Aircraft: Eurocopter AS-350B-2, registration: N6099Y
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The commercial helicopter pilot, with one passenger aboard, was en route from Petersburg to Juneau, when he was requested to join a search for an overdue company helicopter (N6007S). He said that just after entering the search area, he received a radio transmission from another company helicopter (N6052C), who was also involved in the search. The pilot of N6052C informed him that he had crashed on the ice field, and required assistance. The pilot of N6099Y stated that poor weather conditions in the vicinity N6052C would not allow the him to land, so he elected to return to the airport for fuel, and wait for better weather conditions. After refueling, he returned to the accident site of N6052C, where weather conditions had improved. After landing, the uninjured pilot and passenger boarded N6099Y, and all aboard agreed to continue the search for N6007S. The pilot of N6099Y stated that he was able to locate the downed helicopter about two miles directly in front of his location. He said that he slowed the helicopter to about 30 knots in an attempt to gain reference using a mountain range on the left side of the helicopter, and the accident site of N6007S. He said: 'The ceiling at my location was at least 1,000 feet agl, and visibility towards 07S was more than six miles. Just before the impact, I was sure I was at least 500 feet agl.' The pilot added that 'flat light conditions' hampered his ability to see the topographical features of the ice field below. The helicopter struck the snow-covered ice field, slid about 50 feet, nosed over, and rolled to the left. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, tail boom, and rotor system. The accident helicopter was not equipped with a radar altimeter.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot's failure to maintain altitude/clearance. Factors associated with the accident were flat light conditions, snow-covered terrain, and self-induced pressure to continue the search.