Hawaii tour helicopter crash: NTSB report reveals new details about moments ahead of incident

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A preliminary report into a Hawaii tour helicopter crash exposed the chopper expert a “violent upset,” ahead of spinning uncontrollably downward and crashing into a remote lava subject. 

The June 8 crash in close proximity to Kalea, Hawaii, on the island of Hawaii, occurred in the course of a federally regulated “on-demand from customers air tour flight” and left the pilot and two travellers critically injured, while a few other travellers sustained minimal accidents, in accordance to the Countrywide Transportation Safety Board. 

NTSB’s aviation incident preliminary report information how a consultant of the operator, Paradise Helicopters, explained to investigators that the chopper – a Bell 407 helicopter, N402SH – departed at close to 5:01 p.m. community time from the company foundation at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (PHKO), Kona, Hawaii, and headed to the south for an air tour flight all-around the island. 

The helicopter traveled southeast at about 500-600 ft higher than ground stage and between airspeeds of 122 and 127 knots, according to automated dependent surveillance-broadcast and enterprise flight keep track of info. 


The pilot claimed that the 1st element of the flight was typical. 

About 30 minutes into the flight, the helicopter “seasoned a violent upset, followed by an uncontrolled spin (yaw) to the correct,” in accordance to the NTSB. 

This NTSB image shows the main wreckage in lava-covered terrain. 

This NTSB picture exhibits the key wreckage in lava-covered terrain. 
(National Transportation Security Board)

A passenger, seated in the aft remaining forward-facing seat documented that as the helicopter ongoing to spin, she noticed some thing fall off the helicopter on the other hand, she was not ready to detect a unique section.

The flight track data confirmed a swift descent and lower in airspeed at the conclude of the flight observe, consistent with the occupants’ statements, in accordance to the NTSB. 

The helicopter continued to spin uncontrollably while it descended, and it subsequently struck an location of rough, uneven, lava-lined terrain and arrived to rest on its remaining side. 

After the affect, a passenger managed to make the emergency simply call to report the crash. 

The helicopter broke into large pieces divided by hundreds of ft upon hitting the ground. 

“An NTSB on website examination of the incident web-site revealed the tail boom arrived to rest about 762 ft northeast from the key wreckage, which consisted of the fuselage, engine, and main rotor procedure,” the report suggests. “The tail boom separated from the fuselage at the tail increase connect place.”

This NTSB image shows the tail boom at the accident site.

This NTSB picture shows the tail increase at the incident web page.
(National Transportation Protection Board)

“The higher left attachment fitting fastener was not current, and the lessen left attachment fitting was fractured and shown exhaustion signatures,” the report carries on. “The fasteners for the lower still left, lower appropriate, and upper right attachment fittings ended up existing.”

The helicopter’s upkeep records unveiled that the most new tail increase attachment fasteners torque examine was completed on May well 4, 2022, at a total airframe time of 22,891.4 flight hours. 

At the time of the incident, the helicopter had gathered 23,005.6 flight several hours — 114.2 flight several hours given that the torque examine — and no further routine maintenance had been done to that attachment area. 

The tail boom was installed on August 23, 2009, at a whole airframe time of 5,780. hrs and experienced not been taken out prior to the incident, the NTSB suggests. 

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Portions of the tail increase structure, aft fuselage composition, attachment fittings and fasteners ended up retained for further more assessment by the NTSB’s Resources Laboratory.

An investigator from the National Transportation Security Board’s (NTSB) Alaska Regional Place of work, alongside with an NTSB airworthiness investigator, an NTSB survival components investigator, and an NTSB servicing investigator from Washington, D.C., responded to the island of Hawaii.

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