Accident Eurocopter EC 120B Colibri C-GHNI, 19 Jun 2008
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 21281
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Time:c. 09:07 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic EC20 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Eurocopter EC 120B Colibri
Owner/operator:Cover Industries Inc.
Registration: C-GHNI
MSN: 1131
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Laurentides Faunic Reserve, QC -   Canada
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Lac des Neiges, Quebec
Destination airport:Québec/Jean Lesage International Airport
Investigating agency: TSB Canada
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The Eurocopter EC 120B helicopter departed Lac des Neiges, Quebec, on a private visual flight rules flight to Québec/Jean Lesage International Airport, located 42 nautical miles (nm) to the south. Approximately 15 minutes after takeoff, the weather deteriorated and the pilot chose to land at Lac à l'Épaule, 28 nm north of his destination. While overflying the lake at low altitude to verify the chosen landing spot, the pilot turned on the demist hot air to clear the front windshield of condensation. The windshield immediately misted-up; the helicopter lost altitude and struck the surface of the water. The pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries and evacuated the aircraft successfully. The pilot helped the passenger towards the shore. They were assisted by two fishermen in a small boat and were then transported to hospital by ambulance. The passenger subsequently died. The helicopter, which sank approximately 500 feet from shore in 25 feet of water, was substantially damaged.

Findings as to causes and contributing factors
1. Weather conditions for the planned route were not checked prior to departing Lac des Neiges. The pilot encountered unexpected conditions of reduced visibility in moderate to heavy rain showers and low ceiling conditions which forced him to land.
2. The windshield fogged up immediately after the pilot had selected demist hot air. This, combined with the heavy precipitation encountered, restricted the pilot's ability to maintain outside visual references.
3. With the loss of visual references, the pilot did not perceive that the helicopter was descending from 100 feet above ground level (agl) and the helicopter struck the water. He did not have time to open the bad weather window, which could have given him some outside visibility.
4. The approach for landing took place beyond gliding distance from the shore, which put the aircraft and its occupants at risk in the event of an unforeseen problem.
5. No documentation cautions EC 120B flight crews on the risk associated with activating the demist during certain critical phases of flight and under certain weather conditions; activating the demist system can cause a temporary loss of outside visibility.


Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: TSB Canada
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 10 months
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

19-Jun-2008 10:55 Circeus Added
19-Jun-2008 11:17 Vlad Updated
19-Jun-2008 21:45 thaimaxcan Updated
19-Jun-2008 22:51 harro Updated
20-Jun-2008 22:45 JINX Updated
10-Mar-2013 11:59 TB Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Source, Narrative]
10-Mar-2013 12:02 TB Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Source, Narrative]
06-Apr-2022 06:31 Anon. Updated [Source]
06-Apr-2022 06:33 harro Updated [Time, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative, Accident report]

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