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Editors Note: Although an accident is painful for all involved, a cursory review of what accidents are occuring are both


reflective and instructive. Accident reports give us unique insights into specific flights and situations that may make each of us reflect on your own operation or current flying environment. I encourage pilots, mechanics, crewmembers, and decision mak- ers to make it a habit to study our very own recent accident history. If they trigger a higher awareness that saves even one life or one airframe, it will have been worth the read.


CEN12IA096 - PRELIMINARY INJURIES: 2 UNINJURED.


On December 1, 2011, about 1005 central standard time, a Bell 407 helicopter, N435PH, was successfully autorotated to the water following a loss of engine power while in cruise flight over the Gulf of Mexico. The helicopter was not damaged during the on water landing. The commer­ cial pilot, and sole passenger, were not injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by an offshore operator in the Gulf of Mexico, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as a non­scheduled air­taxi flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a


FEBRUARY 2012


company flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from platform EC278­C, and was en route to platform EC261, both in the Gulf of Mexico.


According to the pilot, while en route to 52


EC261 the engine chip light illuminated. The flight was abeam platform EC278­B at the time, and the pilot elected to divert for a precautionary landing. While on the base leg to EC278­B, the pilot heard a loud whin­ ing noise followed by a loud popping noise and the helicopter began to yaw. The pilot entered an autorotation, called mayday, inflated the floats, and performed a suc­ cessful water landing. The pilot and pas­ senger were able to exit the helicopter unassisted into a life raft and were picked up within 10 minutes. The helicopter remained upright for approximately 20 minutes before overturning. The helicop­ ter was recovered for further examina­ tion.


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