Air Ambulance Helicopter Downed by Fencing FOD

Air Ambulance Helicopter Downed by Fencing (Metro Aviation Airbus BK117C2 / H145 N263MH)

On 4 July 2020 Metro Aviation air ambulance Airbus Helicopters BK117C2 / H145 N263MH was involved in an accident at Wayne County Airport (KBJJ), Wooster, Ohio.  The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) explain in their preliminary report that:

Surveillance video showed that after lifting off a portable dolly [at c 1357 Local Time], the helicopter…turned right and briefly hovered. As the helicopter began to take off following the hover, it traversed a grassy area adjacent to the ramp about 10 ft above ground level (AGL), where a silt construction fence was obscured by tall grass.

A 10 ft traverse does suggest perhaps the aircraft was hover taxying rather than taking off per se.

As the helicopter overflew, the fence became unsecured and blew up and into the main and tail rotor system. The crew then performed a forced landing, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage, tailboom, and tail rotor blades.

Metro Aviation HEMS Airbus Helicopters BK117C2 / H145 N263MH at Wayne County Airport (KBJJ), Wooster, Ohio After Hard Landing, Tangle in Silt Fencing (Credit: NTSB)

Metro Aviation HEMS Airbus Helicopters BK117C2 / H145 N263MH at Wayne County Airport (KBJJ), Wooster, Ohio After Hard Landing, Tangled in Silt Fencing (Credit: NTSB)

The two pilots, flight nurse and flight paramedic were uninjured.

At the time of the accident, there were no notices to airmen (NOTAMs) for the construction fence and the presence of the fence was not contained within any publications or notices available to pilots.

We will update this article when more information becomes available.

Safety Resources

BP has shared a video on the threat of downwash (albeit with larger helicopters): https://youtu.be/09bvuYRKwwc


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Aerossurance has extensive air safety, operations, HEMS, SAR, airworthiness, human factors, aviation regulation and safety analysis experience.  For practical aviation advice you can trust, contact us at: enquiries@aerossurance.com