Accident Eurocopter EC 130B4 N155GC, Saturday 10 February 2018
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Date:Saturday 10 February 2018
Time:17:15 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic EC30 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Eurocopter EC 130B4
Owner/operator:Papillon Airways Inc.
Registration: N155GC
MSN: 7091
Year of manufacture:2010
Total airframe hrs:9594 hours
Engine model:Turbomeca (Safran) Arriel 2B1
Fatalities:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 7
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Grand Canyon, AZ -   United States of America
Phase: Approach
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Boulder City Municipal Airport, NV (BLD/KBVU)
Destination airport:Quartermaster landing zone, AZ
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
On February 10, 2018, about 1715 mountain standard time, an Eurocopter EC130B4 helicopter, N155GC, was destroyed when it impacted a canyon wash while on an approach to land at Quartermaster landing zone near Peach Springs, Arizona. The pilot and one passenger sustained serious injuries, and five passengers were fatally injured. The air-tour flight was operated by Papillon Airways, Inc. under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 136. The helicopter departed Boulder City Municipal Airport, Boulder City, Nevada at 1635 and had intended to land at Quartermaster landing zone, a group of landing pads within Quartermaster canyon. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a company flight plan had been filed.

Following an uneventful flight to the area, the pilot began a descent and approach from across the river to a ravine on the west side of the landing site. The accident helicopter was the ninth of ten helicopters scheduled to land at the site that afternoon, and because all of the pads on the east side of the site were occupied, the pilot initiated a descending left turn toward a landing pad located on the west side of the site, aligning the helicopter on an east-northeasterly heading.
Photographs of the landing site windsock near the time of the accident indicated winds at magnitudes of 15 kts or greater from the north-northwest, resulting in tailwind conditions during approaches to the west pads. A pilot on the ground at the landing site reported that the accident helicopter began to decelerate as it approached the landing pads and entered a nose-up attitude, then turned left toward the landing pads, transitioned through several pitch oscillations, and drifted aft. The left turn continued through 720° of rotation before the helicopter descended into a canyon just west of the landing pads, impacted terrain and burst into flames.

The pilot who landed just before the accident reported that he encountered wind conditions that necessitated full right pedal and nearly resulted in a loss of yaw control. The accident helicopter’s flight characteristics at the time of the accident would have included slowing airspeed, a high power setting, and a relative wind position that were all conducive to a loss of tail rotor effectiveness (LTE), thus it is likely that the loss of control was the direct result of LTE.

The landing site was located on a plateau and provided limited approach options due to its local topography. At the time of the accident, potential demarcation lines (boundaries of updrafts and downdrafts) would have been on the pinnacles of ridges located along the approach to the Quartermaster west pads.

Probable Cause:
A loss of tail rotor effectiveness, the pilot’s subsequent loss of helicopter control, and collision with terrain during an approach to land in gusting, tailwind conditions in an area of potential downdrafts and turbulence

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: WPR18MA087
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 11 months
Download report: Final report

Registration & serial number source: FAA AIN site




Photo: NTSB


Revision history:

11-Feb-2018 04:29 Geno Added
11-Feb-2018 04:45 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
11-Feb-2018 04:58 Iceman 29 Updated [Aircraft type, Source, Embed code]
11-Feb-2018 05:16 Iceman 29 Updated [Aircraft type]
11-Feb-2018 10:32 Iceman 29 Updated [Time, Source, Narrative, Photo, ]
11-Feb-2018 15:53 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
12-Feb-2018 10:03 Iceman 29 Updated [Source, Narrative]
12-Feb-2018 10:37 Aerossurance Updated [Aircraft type, Nature, Source, Narrative]
12-Feb-2018 21:13 Terry Updated [Registration, Cn, Source]
12-Feb-2018 21:19 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport]
13-Feb-2018 18:29 mhab Updated [Aircraft type]
15-Feb-2018 08:39 Iceman 29 Updated [Source]
19-Feb-2018 11:40 Iceman 29 Updated [Source, Narrative]
21-Feb-2018 20:54 Iceman 29 Updated [Time, Operator, Source, Narrative, Photo, ]
23-Feb-2018 06:55 Eddie10o Updated [Total fatalities, Narrative]
23-Feb-2018 06:57 harro Updated [Source, Narrative]
27-Feb-2018 01:04 Aerossurance Updated [Total fatalities, Nature, Source, Narrative]
28-Feb-2018 15:09 Eddie10o Updated [Total fatalities, Narrative]
28-Feb-2018 15:09 harro Updated [Source]
15-Jan-2021 17:56 harro Updated [Registration, Destination airport, Narrative, Category, Accident report, Photo]
15-Jan-2021 18:02 harro Updated [Phase]
17-Jan-2021 23:01 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Accident report]
18-Jan-2021 09:04 Aerossurance Updated [Embed code, Accident report]
11-Jan-2024 06:51 Iceman 29 Updated [Source, Embed code]

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