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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 138456
Last updated: 15 October 2021
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Date:08-SEP-1978
Time:afternoon
Type:Silhouette image of generic B06 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell 206B-2 JetRanger II
Owner/operator:Philippine National Bank
Registration: RP-C206
MSN:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Mount Santo Tomas, Tuba, Benguet -   Philippines
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Cargo
Departure airport:RPUB
Destination airport:RPLL
Narrative:
Aircraft departed RPLL carrying cash for the operations of the northern bank branches of the Philippine National Bank. After delivering the cargo the aircraft departed from Baguio with three individuals on board for its return flight to Manila. The engine quit a few minutes into the initial climbout from the aerodrome. The pilot was able to initiate an auto rotation and bring the aircraft down into a clearing on Mount Santo Tomas. On final descent the main rotor sliced into a substantially large tree causing it to fall directly on top of the aircraft. The fuselage was crushed by the falling tree, killing the pilot Major Claro Arevalo Obusan, and the passenger Cresencio Ong. Aircraft mechanic Larry Tagucom survived the crash by jumping from the left seat of the helicopter before the tree crushed the aircraft.

Investigation into the crash revealed that RP-C206's fuel pump was known to quit at about 8,000ft ASL, but would come back to life and operate normally at lower altitudes. Since this was a known limitation, the aircraft was not sent on missions that would require it to operate at or about the 8,000ft limit. In order to cut down on expenses, all purchases of spare parts were subject to scrutiny by higher management. The fuel pump of RP-C206 was not scheduled to be replaced, despite its known defect and limitation.

This mission took the helicopter to about 5,500ft since the RPUB aerodrome is located at 4,521ft.

On initial climbout from the aerodrome to the trough between the mountains known as the "bowling alley" that would safely lead aircraft to the lowlands of Luzon, the fuel pump ceased to function and the engine died due to fuel starvation. The pilot initiated auto rotation and found a clearing on the mountain side to set the helicopter on.

As the aircraft descended into the clearing, the aircraft mechanic, Larry Tagucom, departed from the helicopter. His actions may have resulted in (1) disruption of the center-of-gravity of the aircraft and/or (2) disruption of the flight controls and the control surfaces of the aircraft as he may have moved the cyclic as he exited from the helicopter.

The result was a landing under control, but with the main rotor blade impacting a nearby tree. The tree was upslope from the helicopter and toppled in the direction of the helicopter, crushing it under its weight.

The passenger, Cresencio Ong, was crushed inside the main fuselage. The pilot, Major Claro Obusan, was hit by the tree, impacting his occipital lobe, causing death.

There was no fire or explosion at the crash site.

Aircraft mechanic Larry Tagucom, athough injured, had survived his fall from the helicopter and was looked after by local people until Search and Rescue forces from the USAF, PAF and local mountaineers arrived.

Sources:

As narrated by Tom Hafalla, Enrico "Tang" Obusan, Captain Josefino "Ivan" Obusan, Major Francis Sexon and Major Toti Verder.
unknown


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
09-Sep-2011 03:54 RP-C206 Added
01-May-2016 18:04 TB Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]

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