NTSB Determines Cause of Fatal Helicopter Crash in Colorado

A preflight system check and lack of an indication in the cockpit could have potentially prevented the incident, according to the board.

The NTSB has released a report that determined the cause of the helicopter crash that killed the pilot and left two flight nurses seriously injured. The board concluded a particular preflight system check and the lack of an indication in the cockpit that could have alerted the pilot about low hydraulic pressure was the probable cause of the crash on July 3, 2015, in Frisco, Colorado, on takeoff from a hospital helipad.

Ten months before the crash, the helicopter manufacturer, Airbus Helicopters, issued a safety notice to inform operators that trying to fly without the hydraulic switch in the correct position could render the helicopter uncontrollable, according to the board's news release.

"Because the pilot had no alert indication in the cockpit that the switch was not in the correct position, he likely didn't know why he was having difficulty controlling the helicopter," said NTSB Acting Chairman Bella Dinh-Zarr.  "It's in these treacherous airborne seconds that pilots need access to the information that a warning indication can provide."

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