Accident at 65 SW of Grande Prairie, AB


1997-08-14: While approaching a sand bar for landing, the helicopter experienced a loss of performance as it descended and struck the ground very hard and overturned on it's side in Belcourt Creek in about 2 feet of water. The pilot and one passenger got out safely, with no injuries. The pilot reported that the altitude of the site is about 3000 feet ASL and the temperature at the time was about 26 degrees C, with shifting winds. The helicopter descended rapidly from about 50 feet above ground, and the resulting hard landing and overturn caused very substantial damage to the helicopter. The pilot reported that he had not had any mechanical problems prior to the accident, which may have been partly due to environmental conditions. UPDATE Prior to commencing the approach, the pilot noted that the governor was selected to the "on" position and that all of the engine instruments were "in the green". As the helicopter began it's rapid sink from 50 feet AGL, the pilot increased collective to arrest the descent, but the helicopter continued the descent and struck large, uneven rocks in the middle of the creek. The helicopter rolled right and came to rest on it's right side in two feet of water. About 15 minutes after the accident, the pilot and his passenger were rescued by the people on a riverboat that was passing by the mouth of Belcourt Creek on the Wapiti River. The site is located at the confluence of three deep river valleys in a gorge that is approximately 600 feet wide and which is 3000 feet above sea level. At the time, winds were variable and gusty with an outside air temperature of 27 degrees C. The approach was made on the lee side of a 400 foot high cliff and the pilot believes that he may have encountered a tailwind and downdraft which exceeded the performance capability of his helicopter in the high density altitude conditions.


CADORS Number 1997C0535
Occurrence Type Accident
Reported By NAV CANADA
Occurred At 1997-08-10 - 21:55
Day or Night?
Fatalities 0
Injuries 0
Aerodrome ID
Aerodrome Name
Geographic Location Alberta, Canada, North America, Prairie and Northern Region, 65 SW of Grande Prairie, AB
TSB Occurrence Number
TSB Class of Investigation
AOR Number
Reported By NAV CANADA
Categories System/component failure or malfunction [powerplant],Abnormal runway contact

Aircraft Details (1 aircraft)

Type Helicopter
 Silhouette image of Helicopter
Canadian Registration GKAR | Flightaware (Registration) | Flightaware (Tracking) | AvHerald
Foreign Registration
Country of Registration Canada
Occurrence Type Accident
Operator Private
Make  Silhouette image of ROBINSON
Model R22 BETA
Year Built 1990
Engine Type Reciprocating
Engine Make
Engine Model
Gear Type Land
Private No
Amateur Built No
Flight Number
Flight Rule
CARS Subpart
Phase of Flight Landing
Damage Unknown
Fatalities 0
Injuries 0
Events Engine - malfunction,Hard landing

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