News release

Loss of tail-rotor effectiveness at low altitude led to May 2016 helicopter crash near Prince George, British Columbia

Richmond, British Columbia, 28 August 2017 – According to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada's (TSB) investigation report (A16P0069) published today, loss of tail-rotor effectiveness (LTE) at low altitude led to the May 2016 helicopter crash near Prince George, British Columbia.

On 04 May 2016, a Highland Helicopters Bell 206B Jet Ranger-III was conducting infrared scanning over a logged area about 112 nautical miles northwest of Prince George, British Columbia, with three people on board. Approximately 7 minutes after starting scanning operations, the helicopter spun uncommanded to the right several times and hit the ground. The helicopter was destroyed on impact, and all the occupants were seriously injured. There was no post-impact fire.

The investigation determined that the combination of high gross weight and high power setting while the pilot was manoeuvring at low speed, downwind, and out of ground effect (an altitude greater than half of the helicopter's rotor diameter) put the helicopter in a flight condition that resulted in LTE. Loss of tail-rotor effectiveness is an uncommanded yaw rate that does not subside of its own accord, which if not corrected can result in the loss of control of the helicopter. It occurs when the tail rotor is not capable of providing adequate thrust to maintain directional control. It was found that in this occurrence, the LTE occurred at a height above ground that did not give the pilot enough time to recover before the helicopter struck the ground.

See the investigation page for more information.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053

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