Aviation News, Headlines & Alerts
Category: <span>Agusta Westland</span>

Missing Helicopter Found, Confirmed Death of Margarita Afanaskin

On Sept 14, 2013, an Agusta Westland AW119 Koala en route from Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to Myakinino in Krasnogorsk, Moscow went missing near Tver Oblast. The last conversation between the pilot and ATC took place at 13:14 when the plane was flying over Staritskogo in heavy rain with low visibility. There are conflicting reports that the helicopter landed at a lumberjack festival with a number of people aboard, and that the commander of the aircraft was 30-year-old helicopter champion of Europe and Russia, Margarita Afanaskin was flying the helicopter to a Yakhroma airfield when the helicopter went missing. This has not been confirmed.

The search team involved more than 100 people from diverse agencies, including the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry: 25 people 5 units from the Federal Air Transport Agency; 6 people, 3 units and participating police officers, foresters, volunteers. The rescue hotline released at the time was (4822) 39-99-99.?. Four Robinson helicopters and a Mi-8 helicopter searched Saturday.

The search continued through the end of the fourteenth, and resumed the morning of the fifteenth.

At 18:11 on September 16, the Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that helicopters in the area of ??the village Selco Staritskogo district of Tver region, from the air sighted the possible wreckage of the vehicle. Ground forces confirmed the bodies of a man and a woman whose names were not initially released; but since then the pilot was confirmed, and the passenger of the helicopter was the head of a department of the Federal Forestry Agency, Sergei Medvedev.

London Investigates Agusta Westland Helicopter Crash

London’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch is working the first helicopter accident in London since 1976. A review of helicopter flight regulation over the UK capital is already underway.

In low broken clouds with visibility of 2,300 feet, the AgustaWestland struck a crane on January 16 on top of the Tower at St George Wharf and fell to the street around 8 a.m.. The pilot had diverted to Battersea heliport due to bad weather.

Warning lights were on the building but not on the crane. (Crane lights had an allowed shut off around daylight.

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Tower at St George Wharf Helicopter Crash

London Helicopter Crash Continued

The Wednesday January 16, 2013 crash of the helicopter that struck a crane on top of London’s St George Wharf Tower did result in two casualties. Two office buildings, 5 cars & 2 motorbikes were damaged. The AgustaWest AW109E #G-CRST was flown by Rotormotion, and leased from Castle Air.

Weather people are saying that the top of the crane was not in fog but in a low cloud. (This is apparently different from fog, and might be something I should ask my pilots about. And this London. London=Fog, no?)

Four people were injured and taken to St. Thomas’ Hospital. Five injured were taken to Kings College Hospital. Seven people were treated at the scene. One of the injured was rescued from a burning car. The helicopter fell to Wandsworth Road, hit some vehicles, burst into flames; and falling burning debris started flames in some buildings. Although there were people in the area who thought the accident was a bomb and didn’t realize the helicopter had struck the crane, some witnesses saw the helicopter clip the crane and in seconds, spin out of control. Part of the crane also fell.

I think it’s nothing short of a miracle that there were only two killed and nine injured. London has 8.2 million people.

The pilot, Peter Barnes, was en route from Redhill to Elstree, but had diverted to Battersea because of the visibility. Barnes had over 12,000 flying hours, was employed by charter firm Rotormotion and had flown in the movies Die Another Day, Tomb Raider II and Saving Private Ryan.

Night officially ended thirty minutes before the crash, at which time lights on tall structures were allowed to be turned off. The lights are not visible during fog and bad weather.

The accident resulted in some subway/tube/station closures.

The wreckage will be taken to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch at Farnborough, Hampshire, and a report will take several months. The AAIB site announces The AAIB has sent a team to investigate a helicopter accident in Vauxhall, London – 16 January 2013.


Two not Fatalities of Nigerian Helicopter Crash

A Nigerian Navy Agusta A109E on Ogbia Creek, Bayelsa Nigeria on Dec 15, 2012, 1500 hrs. The Nigerian Navy helicopter crashed in Bayelsa Nigeria that crashed Saturday killed a six including Patrick Yakowa, General Andrew Azazi, governor’s aide, Dauda Tsoho and Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal who is Azazi’s aide as well as the pilots, Commander Murtala Mohammed Daba and Lt. Adeyemi O. Sowole.

Two entertainers, Ramsey Nouah and Timi Dakolo who were presumed dead were not aboard a helicopter. They missed the charter flight to Oronto Douglas’s father’s funeral.

Snowboarder Rescued by Search and Rescue team

On December 18, 2012, the crew aboard a RCAF Cormorant search and rescue found and rescued a snowboarder stranded in a steep ravine between Horseshoe Bay and Lions Bay, British Columbia.

In poor visibility and blowing snow, the 442 Transport and Rescue Squad hoisted Search and Rescue Teams 300 feet through trees to the waiting snowboarder who was retrieved, then flown to Vancouver International Airport and handed over to B.C. Ambulance.

Nigerian Officials Die in Helicopter Crash

What: Nigerian Navy Agusta A109E
Where: Ogbia Creek, Bayelsa Nigeria
When: Dec 15, 2012, 1500 hrs
Who: 6 aboard, 6 fatalities
Why: A Nigerian Navy helicopter crashed in Bayelsa Nigeria. Among the fatalities is the governor of Kaduna, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa.

Several politicians had traveled to Bayelsa for the funeral of the father of Mr. Oronto Douglas, the President’s Special Adviser on Research and Documentation.

Also aboard was former national security adviser Gen Owoye Azazi. The rest of the casualties are governor’s aide, Dauda Tsoho and Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal who is Azazi’s aide as well as the pilots, Commander Murtala Mohammed Daba and Lt. Adeyemi O. Sowole.

The helicopter crashed five minutes after it took off, between 3:30 and 4 pm around Nembe-Okoroba area. Witnesses say the helicopter nosedived, then was a crash, and the chipper burst into flames. There was a big burst of black smoke.

Search and rescue operation was performed by a combined team of personnel from Joint Task Force (OPS PULO SHIELD), Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, NEMA and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps. The remains have been taken to Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.

Another chopper with registration number 5NBOR carried other aides and security details to Port Harcourt without incident.

The crash is under investigation.

CareFlite Crashes in Eastland En Route to Pick Up Patient

What: CareFlite Agusta 109 medical helicopter
Where: County Road 309 Eastland, Texas
When: Oct 1, 2012
Who: three injured
Why: A CareFlite medical helicopter crashed in Texas, injuring pilot Scott Wallace, 58, of Fort Worth; medic Teresa Campbell, 53, of Granbury, and Rhett Drahen, 34, of Frisco. The injuries were minor to moderate. All three were conscious and talking after the crash. The crash site was six miles from Eastland Municipal Airport where the injured patient was waiting.

The pilot was en route to pick up a patient but needed to divert to another airport due to weather. The helicopter crashed three miles south of Eastland.

Mexico: Helicopter Crash Kills Businessman and Pilots

What: Eolo AgustaWestland AW109SP
Where: Cerro Alpino, Mexico
When: July 28, 2012, 23:40
Who: 3 aboard, 3 fatalities
Why: The businessman and son of Fidel Herrera left the town of Atlacomulco after a meal with the former governor of the State of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto and died in a chopper crash.

Toluca Airport lost contact with the helicopter an hour prior to the accident.

The pilot Miguel Angel Rodriguez Lopez, co-pilot Rodolfo Caballero and the passenger, Armando Hinojosa-Garcia, were killed in the town of Juquipilco when the Augusta 109 chopper they were in crashed close to the Jiquipilco-Temoaya road, in the State of Mexico, North of Mexico City.

Search patrols located the wreckage early Sunday morning in a place known as “Hill of Alpine”

A Civil Aeronautics investigation is underway.

As always, we offer condolences to the families.

Chief minister of Jharkhand in Helicopter crash

What: Aryan Aviation Agusta A109C en route to Kuchai
Where: Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi India
When: 09-MAY-2012
Who: 6 aboard, no fatalities
Why: The Agusta A109C helicopter with chief minister of Jharkhand, Arjun Munda and his wife aboard crash-landed from a height of 25 feet at the Ranchi airport. Those aboard (the chief minister, his wife Meera, two pilots, a security officer and BJP MLA Barkuanr Gagrai) were rushed to the hospital and are being treated for injury.

The Minister was scheduled to inaugurate a power sub-station.

Munda sustained several injuries but is in stable condition at the ICU of Apollo Hospital.

On reaching Kuchai, the pilot had informed ATC that the helicopter had developed a rudder control problem. At Birsa Munda Airport, the pilot made four attempts to land, and then hovered to exhaust fuel. There was no fire when the twenty-year-old helicopter went down, as the fuel supply was exhausted.

The DGCA is investigating, and has appointed Sanit Kumar as the I.O.

Brazil Crash Kills Crime Scene re-enactors and murder suspect

Contact photographer Icaro Roberto

What: Governo do Est. de Goiás, opf. Policia Civil de Goiá AgustaWestland AW119 MkII Koala Enhanced
Where: Near Piranhas, state of Goiás Brazil
When: 08-MAY-2012
Who: 8 aboard, 8 fatalities
Why: An AgustaWestland AW119 MkII Koala Enhanced helicopter was participating in a reconstruction of a murder on a farm in Goiás, and crashed. The eight people aboard included The accident victims are the delegates Jorge Moreira, Osvalmir Carrasco (pilot), Vinicius Baptist, Bruno Carneiro (copilot), the superintendent of the Judicial Police, Antonio Goncalves, experts and Marcel de Paula de Paula Fabiano and suspected murderer, Ali Ahmad Souza.

The helicopter had been inspected Monday.

The Ministry of Justice and the National Civil Aviation Agency was bitufued, The Secretary of Public Security of Goiás, John Furtado will be supervising rescuers and the investigation.

Eyewitness accounts disagree. One witness says the aircraft was spinning on its axis and falling, another says it exploded in midair.

Air Ambulance Emergency Landing

What: ORNGE AugustaWestland air ambulance en route from Billy Bishop island airport to a patient west of Toronto
Where: Colonel Samuel Smith Park south of Lake Shore Boulevard West.
When: March 23, 2012, 6:00 pm
Who: 2 pilots, 2 medics
Why: While en route to pick up a Toronto patient, the air ambulance door opened and a window blew out. The pilots had to make an immediate emergency landing near Humber College.

No one was injured, but they had been in jeopardy. Sn ORNGE insider said if the door or window hit the tail rotor “it could have been catastrophic.”

Two aircraft engineers removed the faulty door. The flight crew flew the chopper back to the airport for examination.

A known problem of the AW139 is the helicopters tail rotors. An EASA directive of Aug. 19 2011 ordered helicopter owners to replace the tail rotors after 600 hours of flight following a fatal accident “possibly caused by cracks in a TR (tail rotor) blade.”

Augusta Westland Tail Rotors Fall Off Making Emergency Choppers Into Instant Emergencies

A dozen Augusta Westland helicopters Ontario purchased for $144 million have problems with tail rotors falling off.

EASA issued an air worthiness directive for the AW139. A directive from the European agency last Aug. 19 ordered helicopter owners to replace the tail rotors after 600 hours of flight following a fatal accident “possibly caused by cracks in a TR (tail rotor) blade.” A Feb. 17 directive called for inspections and maintenance of the tail rotors every 25 hours in the air.

In Ontario, Augusta Westland helicopters are in use as air ambulance helicopters. Ornge Founder Dr. Chris Mazza was fired, and an investigation is underway.

ORNGE helicopters are forbidden from entering U.S. airspace and must land at the border and use land ambulances. Issues relate to ORNGE’s new AgustaWestland helicopters, not the old fleet. A ground protocol exists for transporting burn unit or neurology bed patients. Former deputy minister of government services Ron McKerlie is now interim CEO of ORNGE, now non-profit.

Helicopter Crashes in a Street in Mexico

What: Gobierno del Estado de Mexico Agusta A109S Grand
Where: Peréz Valenzuela (street), Del Carmen district, in Coyacán, Mexico
When: Oct 21, 2011
Who: 4 aboard, 2 fatalities
Why: If you imagine going about your normal daily life, you do not expect a chopper to fall in the street, crush your cars and slam into your house.

A chopper owned by the government of Mexico fell in the streets of Coyoacán, between Guillermo Pérez Valenzuela and Avenida Universidad, landing on two vehicles and striking the wall of a house. Because of a fuel spill, the area was cordoned off.

The chopper is an Agusta A-109-S Grand, XC-EDM

Initial coverage was confusing and indicated no fatalities, then three fatalities, then two fatalities with identities unknown.

Eventually two people were confirmed to be deceased, and two as survivors, but the identities took some time to sort out. Two names were released: Juan Estevan Rodriguez (Ruiz Rodriguez) and Julius Caesar Maturano Gomez were reported to be the fatalities—that is, one of the pilots, and the assistant of the secretary of Metropolitan development. We can assume this is correct because of reports of officials attending the funerals in #7 Rue insurgentes in Sapotian neighborhood, Santa Maria Cuevas, Zumpango.

Fernando Alberto Garcia Cuevas (the government official) and the surviving pilot were rushed to Hospital Ángeles Pedregal by emergency responders. Cuevas suffered bleeding of a kidney, which is being addressed by catheter embolization. The surviving pilot, Juan Manuel Ramírez Rivera will be undergoing surgery for broken vertebra in his chest, when he is stabilized.

The pilots attempted to land and save the lives of their passengers and we acknowledge their heroic effort.

Our sources have one photo of the chopper in question:

Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer Luis Tena Orozco – AeroImagenes de Mexico

There was significant confusion in the reportage, so that based on reported coverage, all I can say is this:

There may have been a flaw in the rotor of the aircraft, though it is not clear if it was something that the pilots had been informed of prior to the flight, or if there was a failure during the flight. There was also a statement published that the chopper fell out of the sky, and was seen plummeting, and that the rotor stopped because the hasp detached (or did not detach) from the main rotor. I am sure the truth come out in the investigation; it is too soon to know what happened, but if any parties in the know want to comment or make corrections, we welcome the input.

As always, condolences to the families of Rodriguez and Gomez, and best wishes to the recovery of the injured.

Petrobra Oil Field Chopper Crashes off Coastal Brazil

Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer André Martinis

What: Senior Táxi Aéreo Agusta Westland AW139 from oil platform to Rio de Janeiro
Where: in the Campos Basin, Rio de Janeiro
When: August 19, 2011, 17:15
Who: 4 aboard, 4 fatalities
Why: On Friday afternoon, the chopper charted to Brazilian oil major Petrobras set out from the PetrobrasP-65 platform en route to Macaé.

While miles from shore, the crew declared emergency, and went down 100 km off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. Contact with the chopper was lost at 17:00 local time.

A Bandeirante Patrol plane and two search Brazilian military aircraft, the 4th Squadron of the 7th Aviation Group, a H-34 Super Puma helicopter, and the 3rd Squadron of the 8th Aviation Group initiated a search for the downed Senior Táxi helicopter. In all, there were five aircraft, a helicopter and four ships, including a Guajará Navy patrol vessel and a Lynx helicopter on standby in the area.

After two days of searching in rough seas, three bodies were found on the ocean floor 100 meters down and 62 miles from the coast. One body is still somewhere in the ocean.

The fatalities are listed as Rommel Oliveira Garcia, pilot, Lauro Pinto Haytzann, co-pilot, both employees of Senior Air Taxis, and passengers Ricardo Leal de Oliveira from the company Engevix, and Joao Carlos Pereira da Silva, the Brasitest inspector.

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