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Hawaii tour helicopter crash: NTSB report reveals new particulars about moments earlier than accident

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A preliminary report right into a Hawaii tour helicopter crash revealed the chopper skilled a “violent upset,” earlier than spinning uncontrollably downward and crashing right into a distant lava subject. 

The June eight crash close to Kalea, Hawaii, on the island of Hawaii, occurred throughout a federally regulated “on-demand air tour flight” and left the pilot and two passengers significantly injured, whereas three different passengers sustained minor accidents, in line with the Nationwide Transportation Security Board. 

NTSB’s aviation accident preliminary report particulars how a consultant of the operator, Paradise Helicopters, instructed investigators that the chopper – a Bell 407 helicopter, N402SH – departed at roughly 5:01 p.m. native time from the corporate base at Ellison Onizuka Kona Worldwide Airport at Keahole (PHKO), Kona, Hawaii, and headed to the south for an air tour flight across the island. 

The helicopter traveled southeast at about 500-600 ft above floor stage and between airspeeds of 122 and 127 knots, in line with automated dependent surveillance-broadcast and firm flight monitor information. 


The pilot reported that the primary a part of the flight was regular. 

About 30 minutes into the flight, the helicopter “skilled a violent upset, adopted by an uncontrolled spin (yaw) to the precise,” in line with the NTSB. 

This NTSB image shows the main wreckage in lava-covered terrain. 

This NTSB picture exhibits the primary wreckage in lava-covered terrain.  (Nationwide Transportation Security Board)

A passenger, seated within the aft left forward-facing seat reported that because the helicopter continued to spin, she noticed one thing fall off the helicopter; nonetheless, she was not capable of determine a selected half.

The flight monitor information confirmed a speedy descent and reduce in airspeed on the finish of the flight monitor, in step with the occupants’ statements, in line with the NTSB. 

The helicopter continued to spin uncontrollably whereas it descended, and it subsequently struck an space of tough, uneven, lava-covered terrain and got here to relaxation on its left facet. 

After the affect, a passenger managed to make the emergency name to report the crash. 

The helicopter broke into giant items separated by a whole lot of ft upon hitting the bottom. 

“An NTSB on website examination of the accident website revealed the tail growth got here to relaxation about 762 ft northeast from the primary wreckage, which consisted of the fuselage, engine, and principal rotor system,” the report says. “The tail growth separated from the fuselage on the tail growth connect level.”

This NTSB image shows the tail boom at the accident site.

This NTSB picture exhibits the tail growth on the accident website. (Nationwide Transportation Security Board)

“The higher left attachment becoming fastener was not current, and the decrease left attachment becoming was fractured and displayed fatigue signatures,” the report continues. “The fasteners for the decrease left, decrease proper, and higher proper attachment fittings had been current.”

The helicopter’s upkeep information revealed that the latest tail growth attachment fasteners torque verify was accomplished on Could 4, 2022, at a complete airframe time of 22,891.Four flight hours. 

On the time of the accident, the helicopter had amassed 23,005.6 flight hours — 114.2 flight hours for the reason that torque verify — and no extra upkeep had been carried out to that attachment location. 

The tail growth was put in on August 23, 2009, at a complete airframe time of 5, hours and had not been eliminated previous to the accident, the NTSB says. 


Parts of the tail growth construction, aft fuselage construction, attachment fittings and fasteners had been retained for additional examination by the NTSB’s Supplies Laboratory.

An investigator from the Nationwide Transportation Security Board’s (NTSB) Alaska Regional Workplace, together with an NTSB airworthiness investigator, an NTSB survival elements investigator, and an NTSB upkeep investigator from Washington, D.C., responded to the island of Hawaii.

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