He Rolled The Throttle Out Of The “Fly” Detent And Into The Emergency Range, But The Engine Did Not Respond

Location: Livermore, CA Accident Number: WPR22LA174
Date & Time: May 11, 2022, 09:30 Local Registration: N999GH
Aircraft: Bell Helicopter Textron Canada 407 Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 133: Rotorcraft ext. load

On May 11, 2022, about 0930 Pacific daylight time, a Bell Helicopter Textron Canada 407, N999GH, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Livermore California. The pilot was seriously injured, and the lineman crew member sustained minor injuries. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 133 rotorcraft external-load flight.

The pilot was performing a human external cargo (HEC) long-line qualification flight, at the Livermore Electric Safety Academy, a training operations facility owned  by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).

The pilot stated that the first 20 minutes of the flight were normal, and the accident occurred during the final phase, while carrying a PG&E lineman on a 60-ft long line. The pilot was maneuvering the helicopter at an altitude of about 175 ft agl, positioning the lineman against a static line marker ball. The pilot reported that the engine then lost power, and he rolled the throttle out of the “fly” detent and into the emergency range, but the engine did not respond. He attempted to maneuver the lineman into a clearing, and partially raised the collective once the lineman was about 15 ft agl, to cushion his landing.

The pilot stated that he then maneuvered the helicopter to a landing spot away from the linemen, and after reaching an altitude of about 10 ft agl, he raised the collective and jettisoned the HEC line and cargo hooks, and the helicopter landed hard. The pilot stated that the engine was still running after landing, and he was able to then shutoff the main fuel valve and battery. He was extricated from the helicopter about 30 minutes later.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov