Bell 206B3 Jet Ranger C-FTHA - Epilogue

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Report / May 6, 2015 / Project number: Bell 206 Jet Ranger C-FTHA - C Category

Location: Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
Date: 6 May 2015
Status: Investigation Complete

The accident aircraft, a Bell 206B Jet Ranger III helicopter, was on mission NAV 1 of the Phase III pilot training course out of 3 Canadian Forces Flight Training School in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. The helicopter was crewed by a qualified flying instructor and a student pilot.

During the return to base following completion of the navigation portion of the mission, the qualified flying instructor gave the student pilot a simulated engine failure emergency at approximately 500 feet above ground level. The qualified flying instructor reduced the throttle to idle to simulate the unexpected engine flameout while advising the student pilot of the simulated emergency. The student pilot responded by reducing the  collective to enter autorotation. The student pilot completed the required radio call while establishing the aircraft into wind on final approach to the selected landing area – a field of low-cut hay which included several water-filled depressions.

With no intention of continuing the autorotation to a landing, the qualified flying instructor took control of the helicopter at approximately 120 feet above ground level and initiated a power recovery, but the engine did not respond as expected.

This resulted in the rotor revolutions per minute decaying as the helicopter continued in a slight descent over the field. While overflying approximately 1200 feet of distance over the open field, the qualified flying instructor continued to gradually increase collective to prevent the helicopter from settling into a couple of shallow, waterfilled depressions.

Running out of energy in the rotor, it became apparent that an overshoot was not possible. The qualified flying instructor flared and used what energy remained in the rotor to settle the helicopter onto the ground. The helicopter landed firmly with considerable forward speed and came to a stop approximately 200 feet past the initial touch down point, after which the helicopter was shut down.

The helicopter sustained serious damage to the tail boom and numerous components surrounding the main rotor transmission. There were no injuries.

The investigation focused on the apparent slow response from the engine and on human and organizational factors. With no deficiencies found related to the engine  power response, the preventive measures are aimed at human factors related to maintaining rotor speed during autorotations.

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