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On December 7, 2011 at 1630 Pacific Standard Time, a Eurocopter AS350­B2, registration N37SH, operated by a tour operator, crashed in mountainous terrain approximately 14 miles east of Las Vegas, Nevada. The 14 CFR Part 135 flight was a tourist sightseeing flight, which departed from Las Vegas McCarren International Airport (LAS), Las Vegas, NV, intending to fly to the Hoover Dam area and return to LAS, operating under visual flight rules. The helicopter impacted in a narrow ravine in mountainous terrain between the city of Henderson and Lake Mead. The pilot and four passengers were fatal­ ly injured, and the helicopter was sub­ stantially damaged by impact forces and post­crash fire. Weather was reported as clear with good visibility and dusk light conditions.

Radar data obtained from the FAA show that the helicopter departed LAS and followed a normal route of flight easterly out of the LAS airport traffic area, then turned to the southeast toward Hoover Dam. Tour routings are standardized for all the area tour opera­ tors. The helicopter was level at 3,500 feet mean sea level (MSL) at approxi­ mately 120 knots. About one minute prior to the accident, the radar indicated the helicopter climbed to 4,100 feet MSL and turned about 90 degrees to the left. The left turn and climb are not part of the nor­ mal route. Radar then indicated the heli­ copter descended to 3,300 feet MSL and tracked a northeasterly course for about 20 seconds, until entering a left turn then a descent. The last radar target received was about 1/8 miles from the accident site.


The certified flight instructor (CFI) and a student pilot, who held a foreign­issued fixed­wing certificate, were on a local training flight. The purpose, in part, was

to practice autorotations. The CFI demon­ strated the first autorotation. The CFI entered the autorotation after saying "…entering autorotation in 3­2­1" and lowered the collective while simultane­ ously adding right pedal for trim. Once the collective was all the way down, she closed the throttle. The CFI began to recover at an altitude of approximately 1,000 feet by cracking open the throttle and letting the governor take over after 80 percent revolutions per minute (RPM). Prior to letting the student take the con­ trols, she reviewed the recovery proce­ dure again. The CFI remained on the con­ trols while the student did the control applications. One autorotation was per­ formed successfully. The student entered his second autorotation and at 1,000 feet above ground level, the CFI requested that the student perform a recovery. The student rolled on the throttle and the CFI felt a yaw to the right. The CFI countered with left pedal and stated "I have the con­ trols" and the student relinquished all controls. The CFI noted that the engine and rotor RPMs were excessively high so she decreased the throttle to lower the engine RPMs. She began to raise the col­ lective to lower the rotor RPM, but nei­ ther of the RPM needles decreased. The helicopter was maintaining a level atti­ tude but got closer to the ground. As they neared the ground, she looked for a place to land. During the landing, the low rotor RPM horn sounded and the helicopter touched down on the ground. They exit­ ed the helicopter and saw that the tail boom had separated. The CFI reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation.


On December 9, 2011 at 1630 universal coordinated time, a Robinson R44, Brazilian registration PR­KLA, operated as a personal flight, impacted terrain in the vicinity of Fazenda Coqueiros, Sao Bento do Sul, Santa Catarina, Brazil. The com­

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