March 17, 2021
TSB report on July 2020 helicopter loss of control and collision with terrain in Newfoundland and Labrador
Estimated flight path, derived from global positioning system data (Source: Google Earth, with TSB annotations)
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) on March 11 released its limited-scope, fact-gathering investigation report (A20A0027) into the July 2020 loss of control and collision with terrain of a Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter in Thorburn Lake, Newfoundland and Labrador.
TSB explains on July 20, 2020, a privately registered Robinson R44 helicopter was on a multi-leg cross-country pleasure flight, returning from a remote fishing camp located 7 nautical miles (NM) east of Reeds Pond, Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), on a day visual flight rules flight to St. John’s (Paddy’s Pond) Water Aerodrome (CCQ5), NL. On board were the pilot and 2 passengers. A second Robinson R44 helicopter, which was conducting the same flight, departed the fishing camp at about the same time.
The helicopter departed Springdale Airport, Newfoundland and Labrador (CCD2), explains TSB, and the pilot planned to refuel at an aircraft maintenance facility located on the north-east side of Thorburn Lake, Newfoundland and Labrador (CCW5).
Upon arrival at Thorburn Lake, TSB explains the helicopter carried out an approach to a gravel parking lot and entered a hover at tree top level, after which the helicopter began to climb vertically. Control was lost and the aircraft collided with terrain. The pilot and front-seat passenger sustained multiple serious injuries. The passenger in the right-hand rear seat was fatally injured. Witnesses close by provided first aid to the occupants and extinguished a small fire. The helicopter was destroyed.
The full report and conclusions can be found at TSB’s investigation page.