NTSB Issues Report On Police Helo Crash
The Virginia State Police helicopter that crashed on Aug. 12, killing both officers on board, was flying at 2,200 feet when it abruptly turned to the right and began to dive, says radar data acquired by the NTSB. The NTSB interviewed nearly 40 witnesses who generally confirmed that the helicopter “began a rolling oscillation, began to spin (rotate about the vertical axis), and then descended in a 45° nose down attitude, while continuing to spin until it was lost from sight below the tops of the surrounding trees.” Witness accounts were corroborated by security camera footage that captured the helicopter’s final seconds. The Bell 407 had been following the Virginia governor’s motorcade after observing the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on the day of the crash.
“During the examinations, no evidence was observed to suggest that the accident was the result of a mid-air collision involving another aircraft, animal, or object,” said the board in the preliminary report. Despite significant damage to the aircraft in the post-impact fire, the NTSB was able to locate all the major components for inspection. The pilot had been commander of the Virginia State Police helicopter unit since 2012 and held an airline transport rating for helicopters, commercial single and multi-engine land airplane, instrument airplane, as well as flight instructor ratings for airplanes and helicopters. The state trooper serving as an observer held a private pilot’s certificate for single engine land airplanes. Preliminary reports do not include a probable cause determination, which is not likely to be issued for several months or more.