NTSB Releases Report On Cause of Pikes Peak Helicopter Crash


The National Transportation Safety Board has released their report on what caused a helicopter to crash on Pikes Peak in September.

On September 17, a helicopter carrying a film crew taping an Audi car commercial crashed on Pikes Peak. Amazingly, all four people on board survived the crash. The NTSB has finished their investigation into the crash and say it was a combination of a downdraft and the altitude that forced the pilot into a hard landing and subsequent rollover.

The following is the text of the NTSB's full report:
The airline transport certified pilot was operating his dual turbine-engine helicopter near a 14,110 foot high mountain in order to film an automobile driving up a road. The pilot stated that he had operated around this particular mountain several times a year over the past 24 years and had
established a flight profile which minimized the associated risks. One sharp turn in the road near the peak required the pilot to fly outbound from the mountain and make a gentle 180-degree turn back to film the automobile. When the pilot flew outbound from the mountain the flying conditions were
normal. However, after turning 180 degrees and on the inbound leg towards the mountain, the helicopter encountered a downdraft and was pushed towards the rising terrain. Helicopter performance at that altitude did not provide the pilot with a power margin great enough to "power out" of the
descent. The pilot elected to perform a landing to the road rather than risk a turn down the rocky mountain slope. The helicopter subsequently touched down hard and rolled over coming to rest on the left side. The helicopter was substantially damaged and the pilot received minor injuries. The
three passengers were not injured.

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  • by Brandon on Nov 9, 2010 at 05:17 PM
    Props to the pilot. It could have easily turned very wrong. I didn't know they could fly that high because of the power limitations but he and the passengers survived and that's all that matters.
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