Bell 206B3 Jet Ranger C-FTHA - From the Investigator

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Report / May 6, 2015 / Project number: Bell 206 Jet Ranger C-FTHA - C Category

Location: Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
Date: 2015-05-06
Status: Investigation Ongoing

The accident aircraft, a Bell 206B3 Jet Ranger with civilian registration C-FTHA and military designation CH139301, was a training helicopter operated by 3 CFFTS in Portage la Prairie, MB. The crew of two, a qualified flying instructor (QFI) with a student pilot (SP), was flying NAV 1 as part of the Phase III basic helicopter course.

During the return to base following completion of the navigation portion of the mission, the QFI gave the SP an unexpected simulated engine failure scenario. The QFI reduced the throttle to idle to simulate the engine failure and advised the SP of the simulated emergency. The SP reduced the collective to enter autorotation while initiating a right 170º turn to manoeuvre into wind and towards an identified landing zone. He completed all required actions while establishing the aircraft on final approach to the landing zone.

Once the exercise was completed and the QFI satisfied with the SP’s performance, the QFI took control to initiate an overshoot at approximately 250’ above ground level (AGL). Being closer to the ground, the QFI had now identified obstacles; namely a power line and uneven ground. At the same time as slowly applying power, the QFI raised the collective in an attempt to reduce the rate of descent and extend the glide. However the rate at which engine power seemed to come on was much slower than expected.

With the helicopter’s main rotor speed being low and feeling vibrations with associated unusual sounds, it became apparent that an overshoot was not going to be possible. The QFI flared and used what energy remained in the rotor to settle the helicopter onto the ground just past a shallow depression. The helicopter landed with considerable forward speed and skidded forward for approximately 200 feet past the initial point of contact.

The helicopter suffered serious damage to the tail boom and numerous components surrounding the main rotor transmission as a result of low rotor speed and a hard landing. The crew was not injured.

The investigation is focusing on the engine response during the overshoot, and on human and organizational factors.

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