Accident Bell 206A JetRanger G-OBAY,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 29990
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Date:Friday 5 January 2001
Time:07:50 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic B06 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Bell 206A JetRanger
Owner/operator:Helixair Ltd
Registration: G-OBAY
MSN: 276
Year of manufacture:1967
Engine model:Allison 250-C20
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Lake Windermere, near Bowness, Cumbria -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Chorley, Lancashire
Destination airport:Lake Windermere, Cumbria
Investigating agency: AAIB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The pilot departed from Chorley, Lancashire in order to pick up the owner of the helicopter from his private residence situated by the shore of Lake Windermere. The forecast weather conditions were for calm winds, good visibility, no significant weather, temperature +2°C and a dew point +3°C.

Initially the helicopter flew at 1,500 feet in clear conditions descending to 1,000 feet within 2 miles of the landing site. The site, which was an open ended walled garden situated on the east side of the lake shore, allowed only for approaches towards the east or departures to the west over the lake surface. The pilot had flown into the site on many occasions and had landed there two days previously.

The helicopter arrived to the north of the landing site heading west which required the pilot to make a descending left turn for an approach to the east. During the turn the pilot reported that the visibility deteriorated, he lost all depth perception and, being distracted by having to adjust the position of an external landing light, failed to appreciate his rate of descent.

As he turned onto finals, at approximately 700 metres from the shore, the helicopter struck the water in a flat and level attitude. The pilot who was wearing a four-point harness, exited the helicopter, via the left door, as it sank.

The water temperature was between +3°C to +5°C and it took him some 45 minutes to swim to shore by which time he was suffering from mild hypothermia. He was later taken by ambulance to hospital where, after an overnight stay under observation, he was released.

The pilot assessed the cause of the accident as a loss of depth perception during a descent over a still dark lake surface in poor visibility and light conditions. The need to adjust the external landing light further added to his distraction.

The helicopter sank but was later recovered five days later.

Pilot - Mr William Thomas Scarratt DFC, aged 61. Mild Hypothermia.

Registration G-OBAY cancelled 7 June 2001 as "Permanently withdrawn from use". However, the wreckage was sold on to the owner of the "Cars of the Stars" museum in Keswick, Cumbria, where it was partially restored to resemble the Bell 206 that appeared in the 1977 "James Bond" film "'The Spy Who Loved Me". This may account for G-OBAY reappearing on the UK civil register from 17 February 2003 until it was cancelled as "Permanently withdrawn from use" for the second and final time on 12 September 2003. However, the James Bond Museum closed down on 10 May 2011, and the whereabouts of G-OBAY is currently unknown (the cars went to Miami, Florida, but it not clear if G-OBAY went with them)

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AAIB
Report number: EW/G2001/01/01
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


1. AAIB:
2. CAA:
6. G-OBAY at the James Bond Museum, Keswick 25/9/2009:

Revision history:

27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
26-Jan-2015 20:41 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Damage, Narrative]
26-Jan-2015 20:47 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
26-Jan-2015 20:49 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
11-Feb-2015 16:19 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date]
13-Jul-2016 10:58 Dr.John Smith Updated [Location, Nature, Source]
10-Sep-2020 23:52 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]

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