Former Carson Helicopter Director of Maintenance Pleads Guilty
Levi Phillips, director of maintenance for Carson Helicopters Services, pleaded guilty on September 23 in the U.S. District Court in Medford, Oregon, for his role in falsifying documents pertaining to a Sikorsky S-61N helicopter owned and operated by Carson. Two company executives were indicted earlier this year in relation to the crash.
Improper loading based upon false weight-and-balance and takeoff performance documentation was cited as the cause of a 2008 crash of a Carson helicopter that killed a United States Forest Service (USFS) employee during contracted firefighting services.
An NTSB investigation determined that Carson submitted falsified and/or altered documents to the USFS as a part of its bid package, which included an altered FAA-approved performance chart and weight-and-balance charts. Carson pilots then relied on these altered and/or falsified documents when determining their helicopter maximum payload calculations.
The USFS subsequently awarded Carson firefighting contracts valued at more than $20 million in mid-2008.