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TSB releases report on helicopter crash near Edson, Alta. in May

The TSB has concluded its investigation into a helicopter crash near Edson in May. Transportation Safety Board

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has released its investigation report into a helicopter crash that involved a hard landing at the Edson Airport on May 4.

The findings of the report state the Range Helicopters Inc. Airbus Helicopters AS350 B2 helicopter was conducting a return flight to the Edson Airport from a forest firefighting staging area located approximately 49 nautical miles to the east when the pilot changed course because of another flight approaching the airport for landing.

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The pilot decided to approach the airport from the west. The report noted winds were gusty and strong that day and the pilot intended to conduct a tight right turn to align the helicopter into the wind. Just before entering the right turn toward the hangar, the helicopter began an uncontrolled descent. The aircraft then struck the ground and rolled onto its right side.

The pilot sustained minor injuries. He was able to extricate himself from the wreckage.

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The investigation concluded that the crash was consistent with a “vortex ring,” which happens when a helicopter’s flight path, airspeed and rate of descent coincide with the helicopter’s downwash.

The TSB said the investigation was conducted to improve awareness of potential safety issues for helicopter pilots. The report also includes several recommendations for helicopter pilots to follow when dealing with strong winds and vortex rings.

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