Low visibility plus a lack of instruments and instrument training are blamed for causing a helicopter to spiral into the ground near Terrace, B.C., killing all three people aboard in a June 2012 crash.
The six-seat helicopter was owned by Fort St. John-based Bailey Helicopters Ltd., and the crash killed the company’s assistant chief pilot, Terrace resident Peter Bryant, and colleagues Blake Erickson of Sicamous and Arnaud Jolibois of Banff, Alta.
The Transportation Safety Board report says Bryant was due for leave and was showing his relief pilot the Terrace-area terrain, while the company’s maintenance engineer joined them on the June 1, 2012 flight to help the pair practice hover exit training.
Neither pilot had instrument training and when the helicopter encountered overcast conditions above snow-covered terrain, the report says the pilots became disoriented and lost their reference to the ground.
Data from various GPS units aboard the single-engine Eurocopter show it began an increasingly fast and tight downward spiral, slamming into the hillside barely 30 seconds later.
The TSB says Bailey Helicopters has made several changes following the tragedy, including purchasing a flight simulator to train its pilots what to do if they suddenly lose ground reference and cancelling Transport Canada-issued permission for low-visibility operations.
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