Hard landing Accident Eurocopter EC145 N854EC, Wednesday 29 December 2010
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Date:Wednesday 29 December 2010
Time:02:23 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic EC45 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Eurocopter EC145
Owner/operator:Air Methods
Registration: N854EC
MSN: 9327
Year of manufacture:2010
Total airframe hrs:121 hours
Engine model:Turbomeca Arriel 1E2
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Cherry Point, North Carolina -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Greenville, NC (NC91)
Destination airport:Morehead City, NC
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The pilot was conducting a night emergency medical services flight with no patient on board. When the helicopter was about 12 miles south of the airport, he radioed air traffic control (ATC) and declared an emergency, due to a personal medical incapacitation. He requested a vector to a nearby airport and in response the controller provided him with a position report and began giving him vectors. Subsequently, the pilot overflew the airport and was then given a vector back to the airport. The pilot landed on a runway at the airport with assistance on the flight controls by a flight nurse seated in the front seat. During the landing the helicopter bounced and experienced a hard landing. The helicopter, which was examined by personnel at the helicopter's manufacturer, sustained substantial damage to the structure.

Postaccident interviews with the pilot revealed that while in cruise flight, and shortly after he disengaged the autopilot, his right arm fell to his side. Medical records of the pilot's treatment following the accident documented the sudden onset of right hand weakness and slurred speech while piloting the helicopter, with the subsequent identification of two recent strokes on an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical records documented that the pilot also had experienced a small stroke approximately 4 years prior to the accident. There was no evidence in the FAA records of any formal evaluation of the risk of a recurrent stroke for this pilot or of any formal FAA neurology evaluation. The pilot's records did reflect that no definitive cause for a previous stroke was found, that the pilot had a family history of stroke, that the pilot was increasingly obese, and that the pilot's physician had discontinued a medication prescribed in part to reduce the pilot's risk of a future stroke.

Probable Cause: The pilot's impairment during cruise flight due to a recurring stroke. Contributing to the accident was the Federal Aviation Administration's inadequate oversight of the pilot's known medical condition.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: ERA11LA106
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 3 months
Download report: Final report




Revision history:

04-Oct-2022 16:11 ASN Update Bot Added

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