Aviation News, Headlines & Alerts
Tag: <span>Sundance Helicopters</span>


What is it that I’ve always said? Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance.

Looks like the NTSB Findings agree with me! See their report below about a helicopter crash in December 7, 2011, that occurred in my home away from home, Las Vegas Nevada.

On December 7 at 4:30 Pacific Standard Time, a Eurocopter AS350-B2, operated by Sundance Helicopters as flight Landmark 57, crashed in mountainous terrain approximately 14 miles east of Las Vegas. The flight, a sightseeing tour, departed Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) en-route to the Hoover Dam area was operating under visual flight rules. The helicopter impacted in a narrow ravine in mountainous terrain between the cities of Henderson and Lake Mead. The pilot and four passengers were fatally injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined today (Jan. 29, 2013) that the probable cause of the Dec. 7, 2011, air tour helicopter crash near Las Vegas, Nev., was inadequate maintenance, including degraded material, improper installation, and inadequate inspections.

“This investigation is a potent reminder that what happens in the maintenance hangar is just as important for safety as what happens in the air,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A. P. Hersman.

At about 4:30 p.m. Pacific standard time, a Sundance Helicopters Eurocopter AS350, operating as a “Twilight City Tour” sightseeing trip, crashed in mountainous terrain about 14 miles east of Las Vegas, Nev. The helicopter originated from Las Vegas McCarran International Airport at about 4:21 p.m. with a planned route to the Hoover Dam area and then return to the airport. The accident occurred after a critical flight control unit separated from another, rendering the helicopter uncontrollable. After the part separated, the helicopter climbed about 600 feet, turned about 90 degrees to the left, descended about 800 feet, began a left turn, and then descended at a rate of at least 2,500 feet per minute to impact. The pilot and four passengers were killed and the helicopter was destroyed.

The NTSB found that the crash was the result of Sundance Helicopters’ improper reuse of a degraded self-locking nut in the servo control input rod and the improper or non-use of a split pin to secure the degraded nut, in addition to an inadequate post-maintenance inspection.

Contributing to the improper (or lack of) split pin installation was the mechanic’s fatigue and lack of clearly delineated steps to follow on a “work card” or “checklist” The inspector’s fatigue and lack of a work card or checklist clearly laying out the inspection steps to follow contributed to an inadequate post-maintenance inspection. As a result of this investigation the NTSB made, reiterated and reclassified recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration.
“One of the critical lines of defense to help prevent tragedies like this crash is improved maintenance documentation through clear work cards, or checklists,” Hersman said. “Checklists are not rocket science, but they can have astronomical benefits.”

Sundance Chopper Crashes in River Mountains

Pictured: Sundance Chopper from company video

What: Sundance Helicopters Aérospatiale AS-350B
Where: Near Lake Mead, Nevada
When: Dec 7 2011, 5 pm
Who: 5 fatalities
Why: Las Vegas police search and rescue team conformed that a luxury sunset tour of the Las Vegas Strip and Hoover Dam crashed into the River Mountains. The pilot Landon Nield of Las Vegas and four passengers were killed in the crash thirty miles from the Vegas strip were in a remote area. Officials airlifted to the crash site confirmed the condition of the victims. Recovery will continue Thursday after sunrise.

Sundance Helicopters of Las Vegas has had at least five accidents and has been the subject of 10 federal enforcement actions since 1994 but Nield had no history of accidents or violations.

Two of the passengers, tourists Delwin and Tamara Chapman of Utica, Kan were renewing their vows and celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.

Two of the victims, 28-year-old Lovish Bhanot and 26-year-old Anupama Bhola, were a couple of newlyweds from New Delhi, India.

The crash was reported by an employee of Alfred Merritt Smith water treatment facility who witnessed the event.

A 12-member team is being sent to investigate the crash.

In September of 2003, a Sundance Aerospatiale crashed Near Grand Canyon West Airport, Arizona.


The National Transportation Safety Board has launched a 12- member Go-Team to investigate the crash of a helicopter on a sight-seeing tour that occurred near Las Vegas at about 5:00 p.m. PT on Wednesday. Preliminary reports indicate that all five persons on board the helicopter were fatally injured.

Senior Air Safety Investigator Bill English will serve asInvestigator-in-Charge. Member Mark Rosekind is among those traveling to the site and will serve as principal spokesman during the on-scene phase of the investigation.

Peter Knudson is the public affairs officer accompanying the team; he may be reached on his cell phone at 202-557-1350.

2003 crash.pdf

Content not attributed to or linked to original, is the property of AirFlightDisaster.com; all rights reserved.

Site Credits