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Accident Report Detail

 
Uncontrolled Descent and Impact with Terrain, Eurocopter AS350-B2 Helicopter, N169PA

Executive Summary

On August 10, 2001, about 1428 mountain standard time, a Eurocopter AS350-B2 helicopter, N169PA, operating as Papillon 34, collided with terrain during an uncontrolled descent about 4 miles east of Meadview, Arizona. The helicopter was operated by Papillon Airways, Inc., as an air tour flight under Code of Federal Regulations 14 (CFR) Part 135. The helicopter was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. The pilot and five passengers were killed, and the remaining passenger sustained serious injuries. The flight originated from the company terminal at the McCarran International Airport (LAS), Las Vegas, Nevada, about 1245 as a tour of the west Grand Canyon area with a planned stop at a landing site in Quartermaster Canyon. The helicopter departed the landing site about 1400 and stopped at a company fueling facility at the Grand Canyon West Airport (GCW). The helicopter departed the fueling facility at 1420 and was en route to LAS when the accident occurred. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed.


Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the pilot’s decision to maneuver the helicopter in a flight regime and in a high density altitude environment which significantly decreased the helicopter’s performance capability, resulting in a high rate of descent from which recovery was not possible. Factors contributing to the accident were high density altitude and the pilot’s decision to maneuver the helicopter in proximity to precipitous terrain, which effectively limited remedial options available.


Accident Location: Meadview , AZ    
Accident Date: 8/10/2001
Accident ID: LAX01MA272

Date Adopted: 6/3/2004
NTSB Number: AAB-04-02
NTIS Number:  

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