Accident Bell 206B-3 JetRanger III N828AC, Wednesday 2 January 2013
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Date:Wednesday 2 January 2013
Type:Silhouette image of generic B06 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Bell 206B-3 JetRanger III
Owner/operator:San Joaquin Helicopters
Registration: N828AC
MSN: 1519
Year of manufacture:1975
Total airframe hrs:5179 hours
Engine model:Rolls Royce 250-C20B
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Vineyard near Delano, CA -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Delano, CA (DLO)
Destination airport:Delano, CA (DLO)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The accident helicopter was returning to the airport. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time with increasing fog. The pilot of a second helicopter, who was flying nearby and was in contact with the accident pilot, stated that, before the accident, he saw the accident helicopter make a right turn; he then asked the pilot if she was lost. The accident pilot responded that she thought she was. The second pilot told her to turn left toward the airport. Shortly after, the second pilot observed a fire on the ground and attempted to contact the accident pilot but received no reply. The accident helicopter crashed about 10 miles southeast of the destination airport. Postaccident documentation of the accident site revealed signatures indicative of a steep right turn while impacting vegetation and terrain. Examinations of the helicopter and engine revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The dark night conditions, sparsely lit terrain, and accumulating fog reduced the visual cues available for the pilot to maintain orientation, and, under those conditions, the helicopter's external spotlights, which were on during the accident flight, could have further reduced or provided misleading visual cues. These conditions were conducive to the development of spatial disorientation.

Probable Cause: The pilot's failure to maintain helicopter control due to spatial disorientation while maneuvering in low visibility, dark night conditions.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: WPR13FA080
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report




Revision history:

02-Jan-2013 20:30 Geno Added
02-Jan-2013 21:20 Geno Updated [Registration, Cn, Source, Narrative]
04-Jan-2013 10:57 Emil Updated [Damage]
22-Jan-2014 23:19 Geno Updated [Operator, Phase, Source, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:28 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
28-Nov-2017 14:05 ASN Update Bot Updated [Other fatalities, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Jul-2022 11:24 rvargast17 Updated [Aircraft type]

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