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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 43446
Last updated: 29 August 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic AS50 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Aérospatiale AS 350D
Owner/operator:Kern Helicopters Inc
Registration: N5795X
MSN: 1442
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Tejon Pass, 2.5 Miles N of Lebec, Kern County, California -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Meadows Field, Bakersfield, California (BFL/KBFL)
Destination airport:Meadows Field, Bakersfield, California (BFL/KBFL)
Investigating agency: NTSB
On January 20, 1994, at 09:00 hours Pacific standard time (PST), an Aerospatiale AS350D helicopter, N5795X, collided with two power transmission cables in mountainous terrain in the Tejon Pass near Lebec, Kern County, California. The helicopter was destroyed by impact forces and post-impact fire. The certificated commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The helicopter was being operated as an on-demand air taxi flight by Kern Helicopters, Inc., Bakersfield, California, when the accident occurred.

The flight originated at operator facilities in Bakersfield and was scheduled to return after conducting an aerial reconnaissance of a pipeline that may have been damaged during a recent earthquake in California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a company VFR flight plan was on file at the operator's facilities.

According to the operator, the helicopter was hired to transport an engineer over a pipeline from the Four Corners Pipeline, Inc. pumping station near Lebec, California, to Newhall, California. The pipeline had been shut down as a result of a recent earthquake on January 17, 1994. The pumping station was to resume operation and the helicopter was to trace the pipeline checking for leaks.

According to the operator, there was a delay at the pumping station when the helicopter arrived. The helicopter was not scheduled to land at the pumping station. According to the operator, the patrol of this segment of pipeline was not routine for his company.

According to an employee of Four Corners Pipeline, Inc., located in Bakersfield, California, the engineer telephoned from the helicopter and indicated they intended to land at the pumping station site.

Three witnesses driving northbound on Interstate 5 east of the accident site observed the helicopter accident. They indicated the helicopter was flying straight at a low altitude when it began to spin 360 degrees. The helicopter disappeared behind a spur followed by a plume of smoke. The witnesses did not see the power transmission cables.

Two other witnesses west of the accident site heard unusual engine noises from the helicopter's engine and saw the helicopter spinning just before it collided with terrain. These witnesses did not see the helicopter collide with the power transmission cables.

Postmortem examinations were conducted by the Kern County Coroner's Office on January 21, 1994. According to the coroner's report, no pre-existing conditions were noted during the autopsy which would have adversely affected the pilot's ability to control the helicopter. The results of the toxicological analysis revealed negative findings for routine drug and alcohol tests. The wreckage was released to the representatives of the owner on January 26, 1994.


1. NTSB:
2. FAA:

Revision history:

24-Oct-2008 10:30 ASN archive Added
02-Jul-2014 19:30 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]

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