The helicopter accident rate in the Gulf of Mexico has been decreasing since 2007, according to a new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy. For the years 2000 to 2009, an average of 8.2 helicopter accidents occurred in the Gulf of Mexico annually. Poor decision-making by pilots accounted for 47 percent of fatal accidents, while loss of engine power was the cause of one-third of all fatal crashes.
Eurocopter BK 117 C-2, Albert Lea, Minn., Jan. 1, 2011–The NTSB found the pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection of the engine cowling latches resulted in the opening of the cowling door in flight and subsequent damage to the main rotor blades.
Hawker Beechcraft King Air C90A, Chickasha, Okla., April 11, 2011–The National Transportation Safety Board found that the mechanic’s improper installation of the aileron was the cause of its partial detachment from the King Air during flight.
Eclipse Aviation EA-500, West Chester, Pa. July 30, 2008–The pilot’s failure to obtain the proper touchdown point, along with his excessive airspeed on approach, was the cause of the crash, which caused substantial damage to the twinjet, the National Transportation Safety Board ruled.
Eurocopter AS350B3, Vallorcine, France, Sept. 14, 2011–While conducting a daylight mountain survey flight in the French Alps, the light single-engine helicopter struck the cable of a gondola lift and crashed, bursting into flames on impact. The Ecureuil, operated by Chamonix Mont-Blanc Hélicoptères, was destroyed and the pilot and three passengers were killed.
Cessna 208B, Northwest Territories, Canada, Oct. 4, 2011–The Grand Caravan went down in rain approximately 125 miles east of Yellowknife and 25 miles from its destination of the remote community of Lutselk’e. According to authorities, the pilot decided to turn the aircraft around for unexplained reasons.
De Havilland Canada DHC-3T, Kodiak, Alaska, Sept. 23, 2011–The pilot of the turboprop-powered Otter was killed and his two passengers seriously injured when the Paklook Air-operated aircraft crashed while on approach to Kodiak Airport after an approximately 50-mile flight. One of the passengers used his cellphone to call 911 and alert authorities to the accident.
Bell 206, New York, N.Y., Oct. 4, 2011–Just after takeoff from the East 34th Street heliport in Manhattan, the privately owned JetRanger spun out of control and crashed into the East River. Witnesses at the scene reported the Bell appeared to be exhibiting mechanical distress as it went down. The owner-pilot and three passengers were able to escape the rotorcraft, which rolled over when it struck the water.
Dassault Falcon 20F, Atlanta, Ga., Oct. 3, 2011–The twinjet was damaged when it struck a utility pole after rolling off a taxiway and down an embankment at Newnan Coweta County Airport. According to reports, the pilot (who was uninjured in the accident) was taxiing the Mexican-registered twinjet to maintenance when the brakes apparently failed.
Hawker Beechcraft Beech 99A, Cap Haitien, Haiti, Sept. 20, 2011–The Haitian-registered aircraft, operated by Salsa d’Haiti, was substantially damaged when it crashed into a field during heavy rain at the conclusion of a scheduled passenger flight from Port au Prince to Cap Haitien International Airport. The two crewmembers and the lone passenger were killed. The Haitian government is investigating the accident.