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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ANC13GA036
14 CFR Public Use
Accident occurred Saturday, March 30, 2013 in Talkeetna, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/28/2015
Aircraft: EUROCOPTER AS350, registration: N911AA
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

: NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

The Safety Board's full report is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/aviation.aspx. The Aircraft Accident Report number is NTSB/AAR-14/03.

On March 30, 2013, at 2320 Alaska daylight time, a Eurocopter AS350 B3 helicopter, N911AA, impacted terrain while maneuvering during a search and rescue (SAR) flight near Talkeetna, Alaska. The airline transport pilot, an Alaska state trooper serving as a flight observer for the pilot, and a stranded snowmobiler who had requested rescue were killed, and the helicopter was destroyed by impact and postcrash fire. The helicopter was registered to and operated by the Alaska Department of Public Safety (DPS) as a public aircraft operations flight under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed in the area at the time of the accident. The flight originated at 2313 from a frozen pond near the snowmobiler's rescue location and was destined for an off-airport location about 16 mi south.


The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot's decision to continue flight under visual flight rules into deteriorating weather conditions, which resulted in the pilot's spatial disorientation and loss of control. Also causal was the Alaska Department of Public Safety's punitive culture and inadequate safety management, which prevented the organization from identifying and correcting latent deficiencies in risk management and pilot training. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's exceptionally high motivation to complete search and rescue missions, which increased his risk tolerance and adversely affected his decision-making.