Accident MBB BK 117A-3 N626MB,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 45655
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Date:Friday 18 January 2002
Type:Silhouette image of generic BK17 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
MBB BK 117A-3
Owner/operator:CJ Systems Aviation Group Inc
Registration: N626MB
MSN: 7109
Year of manufacture:1986
Total airframe hrs:5952 hours
Engine model:Lycoming LTS-101-SER
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland, OH -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Cleveland, OH
Destination airport:Eastlake, OH
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On January 18, 2002, at 0024 eastern standard time, an MBB (Eurocopter) BK 117 A-3 helicopter, N626MB, operated by CJ Systems Aviation Group, was destroyed when it collided with a brick facade during a take-off from a roof-top helipad at the University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio. The certificated commercial pilot and the flight nurse were fatally injured, and the paramedic was seriously injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the medevac flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The medevac helicopter lifted off the hospital's roof-top helipad at night. The pilot made a right pedal turn to the northwest, facing a building that extended above the height of the helipad by approximately 10-feet. The paramedic said that when the helicopter was about 20-feet above the helipad, and while he was programming the GPS receiver, a "sudden gust" of wind push the helicopter from directly behind. He was not alerted to anything unusual until he looked up and noticed the helicopter's close proximity to a 16-floor brick building, located at the northern corner of the heliport, which extended above the height of the helipad by 4 floors. The paramedic yelled, "building, building, building!" to alert the pilot. The pilot then made a rapid right cyclic input to avoid hitting the building, but the helicopter struck the building, and fell about 13 floors to ground level. The paramedic did not see or hear any warning lights, horns or unusual noises, and was not aware of any mechanical problems with the helicopter. A police officer who flew two missions in the local area prior to the accident said the wind speed at 500 feet agl was at least 25 knots and gusting from the south/southwest. He stood on the primary helipad after the accident and said mechanical turbulence from the building was evident. An FAA inspector who also stood on the rooftop helipad after the accident said the wind gusts were about 20-30 knots from the southwest and they swirled around the heliport. Review of the helicopter flight manual revealed, "Directional controllability during take-off and landing is assured for flight condition with crosswind components up to 17 [knots].

Probable Cause: Pilot's failure to maintain directional control of the helicopter while hovering, which resulted in its collision with a building. Factors were the confined area, tail wind, and wind gusts.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: IAD02FA026
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 3 months
Download report: Final report


NTSB: (photo)



Revision history:

28-Oct-2008 00:45 ASN archive Added
07-Feb-2009 10:25 harro Updated
24-Jul-2010 23:11 Alpine Flight Updated [Aircraft type, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
19-Aug-2010 14:02 TB Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Narrative]
19-Aug-2010 14:05 TB Updated [Operator]
02-Nov-2012 14:07 TB Updated [Time, Phase, Source, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
09-Dec-2017 15:23 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
29-Jul-2023 00:09 Captain Adam Updated [[Operator, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]]

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