Aeromed Helos Collide, No TCAS Aboard Either
The two aeromedical Bell 407s involved in a fatal midair over Flagstaff, Ariz., on Sunday afternoon were not equipped with traffic collision avoidance systems or cockpit voice or data recorders, an NTSB spokesman told AIN. Both medevac helicopters were en route to the Flagstaff Medical Center when they collided in uncontrolled airspace less than a half mile East of the hospital’s rooftop, killing six, including the pilots and patients on both helicopters. One flight nurse survived and is in critical condition. VMC prevailed and wind was calm at the time of the accident. The 1998 and 1996 turbine-single helicopters were both being flown VFR single-pilot. Both ships–N407GA, operated by Englewood, Colo.-based Air Methods, and N407MJ, operated by Utah-based Classic Helicopters–were destroyed by post-crash fires. The NTSB confirmed that a hospital surveillance camera had captured images of the crash and that the videotape was being sent to Washington, D.C., for enhancement and analysis. This accident is the first recorded midair between two aeromedical helicopters in the U.S., the ninth crash of an aeromedical helicopter in the U.S. this year and only the third midair between two civil helicopters in the U.S.