Wing Walker Missed Transfer Cue: NTSB

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The NTSB says pilots involved in the fatal fall of a wing walker at an airshow in Michigan last August both told them he mistimed his transfer from a biplane to a helicopter. Todd Green died after falling about 150 feet during his routine at the Selfridge Air Force Base airshow on Aug. 21. He was trying to transfer from the wing of a Stearman to the skid of a Hughes 269C helicopter when he fell. According to the pilots' testimony to the NTSB, Green tried to make the transfer before the helicopter was in position and before being given the cue to make the move.

Both pilots said Green "lunged" for the helicopter skid, letting go of a handle on the Stearman in the attempt. He would normally not have let go of the airplane before gaining a secure hold on the helicopter, the pilots told the NTSB. When he was unable to grab the skid, he tried to return to the Stearman but missed the handle. The accident happened at show center. The rest of the show was cancelled.