Crash ’copter tail ro­tor lost control

● Con­nec­tion­with­pi­lot’spedals­mal­func­tioned

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - NEWS - BY NEIL LANCEFIELD

The he­li­copter in­volved in a crash which killed the owner of Le­ices­ter City lost control af­ter the pilot’s ped­als be­came dis­con­nected from the tail ro­tor, in­ves­ti­ga­tors said.

This re­sulted in the air­craft mak­ing an un­con­trol­lable right turn be­fore it spun and crashed, ac­cord­ing to a spe­cial bul­letin by the Air Ac­ci­dents In­ves­ti­ga­tion Branch.

The re­port re­vealed a sys­tem link­ing the pilot’s ped­als with the tail ro­tor failed.

An in­spec­tion at the crash site found parts of a mech­a­nism had be­come dis­con­nected and there was a “build-up of black grease” on one com­po­nent.

The fail­ure of the sys­tem led to the pitch of the tail ro­tor blades be­ing changed “un­til they reached the phys­i­cal limit of their travel”, in­ves­ti­ga­tors noted.

The re­port stated: “The ini­ti­at­ing cause and ex­act se­quence of the fail­ure that re­sulted in the loss of tail­ro­tor­con­trolis­be­ing in­ves­ti­gated as a pri­or­ity.”

Footage of the in­ci­dent ap­pears to show that sec­tions of the tail ro­tor may have fallen off in mid-air.

The AW169 he­li­copter reached an al­ti­tude of ap­prox­i­mately 430ft be­fore plum­met­ing to the ground near Le­ices­ter City’s King Power Sta­dium.

It was rapidly en­gulfed in a post-im­pact fire and all five on board were killed.

Le­ices­ter City owner Vichai Sri­vad­dhanaprabha, em­ploy­ees Nur­sara Suk­na­mai and Kave­porn Pun­pare, pilot Eric Swaf­fer and his partner, Iz­abela Roza Le­chow­icz – who was also a pro­fes­sional pilot – were all killed in the ac­ci­dent on Oc­to­ber 27.

Fol­low­ing the crash, the Euro­pean Avi­a­tion Safety Agency or­dered that safety checks should be car­ried out on the tail ro­tors of AW169 he­li­copters and sim­i­lar mod­els.

TRIB­UTES: The scene out­side Le­ices­ter City’s King Power Sta­dium af­ter the fa­tal he­li­copter crash that killed five

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