NTSB Releases Rescue Helicopter Crash Report
Editor: James T. Crouse
Profession: Aviation Accident Attorney
January 24, 2008
By Frieda Flyer
Category: Helicopter Crashes
Green Bay, Wisconsin - On April 13, 2006, James Vincent, Jr. took off for a routine post - maintenance flight from the GRBC Rescue Heliport in Eagle III, a Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm BO 105LS A-3 air ambulance helicopter built in 1987. A few minutes later the chopper crashed in a field about 30 feet from the heliport, killing James, the only occupant.
According to a report by WBAY, a local Green Bay TV station, the NTSB has released the final report and determined the crash was an accident caused by "the control pedals inside the Eagle III backup were in the wrong position that day, making them ineffective when James Vincent took off."
The report is interesting in its conclusions, especially because it seems to cite no physical evidence in support of its theories. The thrust of its findings seem to be based on the fact that maintenance was performed on the anti-torque pedals but the report provides scant theory, let alone evidence, of exactly what maintenance was performed that actually caused the alleged restrictions in the pedals.
Many questions do remain. How did the pedals actually get jammed? Which pedal was jammed? Why couldn't it become unrestricted by pressing on the opposite pedal? What was done or not done that caused the problem? Where is the physical evidence of the problem? Were adequate operational and maintenance instructions issued? Was any part found to have malfunctioned or failed?
Answers to these questions are not found in the NTSB report.
And ultimately--did the NTSB get it right? Did something else cause this tragedy?
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