The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says a helicopter crash near Smithers two years ago was caused by a combination hydraulic system limitations and pilot control input.
According to the investigation report, the Airbus AS 350 FX2 Helicopter operated by TRK Helicopters had left the base of ski run March 16, 2016 and was heading to base camp with a pilot and six passengers onboard.
Shortly after takeoff, the pilot descended into a ravine and the chopper’s airspeed increased rapidly. Moments later, the TSB says the helicopter abruptly rolled to the right, pitched up, and collided with terrain on a steep, snow-covered slope.
There were no injuries, and everyone was able to exit the badly damaged helicopter.
The investigation report noted that the type of helicopter involved in the crash has a known design characteristic called servo transparency. The chopper pitches up and rolls to the right when the aerodynamic forces on the main-rotor system exceed the capability of the hydraulic system.
The investigators say that just before the crash, the pilot’s actions resulted in servo transparency. While the pilot was able to regain hydraulic system assistance, the altitude was too low for the pilot to recover before impact.
The investigation also found that the aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter failed because of undetected wear over time.