Two Filmmakers Die in Helicopter Crash in Australia

Andrew Wight’s death has shocked the film industry after the helicopter he was piloting crashed as it was taking off at Jaspers Brush airfield near Nowra, on the NSW South Coast, on February 4, 2012. Mike deGruy, an American filmmaker also died in the crash.

National Geographic, the employers for both of the victims, and director James Cameron of the “Titanic”, confirmed the victims’ identities in a joint statement that said “the deep-sea community lost two of its finest”….”They were my deep-sea brothers and both were true explorers, who did extraordinary things and went places no human being has been,” he said. “They died doing exactly what they loved most.”

Mike deGruy, of Santa Barbara, California, won several Emmy and British Academy of Film and Television Arts, also known as (BAFTA), awards for cinematography.

Andrew Wight, of Melbourne, was the writer-producer of the 3D movie “Sanctum,” which took in $100 million and was Australian cinema’s biggest box office hit of 2010.

The joint statement said Mike deGruy spent over 30 years producing and directing documentary films about the ocean. DeGruy was an accomplished diver and submersible pilot who spent many hours filming deep beneath the sea.

Airplanes Operating Private and Charter Flights worldwide substantial increase in accidents in 2011

Airplanes Operating Private and Charter Flights worldwide substantial increase in accidents in 2011.

While a small amount of operations continued to be one of the safest segments. According to AIN, total accidents involving U.S.-registered business jets nearly doubled, from 17 in 2010 to 32 in 2011.  U.S.-registered turboprop accidents jumped from 32 in 2010 to 43 in 2011.

This increase in the number of accidents coincides with an increase in the number of business jet flight operations worldwide.  Statistics compiled by the FAA, flight operations including arrivals and departures, increased by approximately 4 percent between December 2010 and November 2011 over the same time period just a year earlier.

Turboprops Are By Far the Worst in Fatalities

The number of fatalities in turboprop accidents more than doubled in 2011 from where 29 people were killed in 11 accidents last year compared to 12 people killed in four accidents in 2010. By the fourth quarter of 2011 alone, 13 people died in four fatal accidents involving a private or corporate-owned turboprop, while there were no fatal turboprop accidents in the final quarter of 2010. In 2011, two people were killed in two fatal accidents of turboprops, whereas two people were killed in turboprop crashes in 2010. In 2011, two of the fatal turboprop accidents involved airplanes operating outside the U.S.

Because the FAA and NTSB draw fine distinctions between “incidents” as well as “accidents”, these agencies are inconsistent and hopefully the status of the occurrence may change.

An example of these inconsistencies would be runway overruns, retracted landing gear, and gear-collapse mishaps, which are typically listed as incidents by the FAA and not calculated by the NTSB. However, when an occurrence causes substantial damage or serious injury, the NTSB would record it as an accident.

In other incidents, if they don’t result in serious damage or injury, these are usually listed just as incidents. These incidents can include precautionary engine shutdowns, flameouts, bird or other animal strikes, blown tires, window separations, doors opening, lightning strikes, system malfunctions, parts departing an airplane, loss of control, and turbulence. Additionally, depending on what is found during the investigation, events initially classified as incidents are sometimes dropped from safety databases, if investigators consider them inconsequential. Some mishaps which were preliminarily listed officially as incidents, have been changed to accidents because of the seriousness of their nature.

Robinson R-22 Helicopter Crash – Raytheon, Arizona

While a Tucson Police Department Air Support Unit was training near the Tucson International Airport the aircrew witnessed a Robinson R-22 civilian helicopter crash. The Police aircrew made an immediate landing and directed emergency responders to the downed Robinson R-22 aircraft.

The air support crew heard the pilot’s distress call, and then relayed the situation to officers on the ground. The Robinson R-22 crashed in an undeveloped desert area which is on the southwestern portion of the Raytheon Missile System facility. The police air crew then directed emergency responders to the crash site.

The pilot of the Robinson R-22 helicopter reported engine failure when it went down about 1.5 miles south of Tucson International Airport. There were 2 people on board the chopper. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and engine failure may be to blame for the Robinson R-22 helicopter crash.

The only person aboard the Robinson R-22 who was treated for injuries was the pilot. The pilot of the downed Robinson R-22 was airlifted to University Medical Center (UMC) for treatment.

Raytheon was operating the helicopter which is registered to the Double Eagle Aviation Flight School. The Double Eagle Aviation Flight School is located at the Tucson International Airport.


National Guard OH-58D Kiowa Warrior Crashed in Tennessee

A National Guard OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter crashed in Campbell County, Tennessee. The crash killed the two Knoxville pilots. The fatal aviation accident occurred near the Interstate 75 in the evening. The cause for the crash is unknown, yet the pilots were conducting a routine training flight at the time. The helicopter reportedly hit power lines at some point during the aviation accident, causing power outages in the area. The crash is currently under investigation.

UH-1Y (Huey) Helicopter Crash in Southern California

In a UH-1Y (Huey) helicopter at Marine training station Camp Pendleton, one Marine died in a crash in Southern California. The other five are injured. The cause of the crash is still under investigation. The crash started a small fire at the site. The helicopter was a UH-1Y (Huey) belonging to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing designed by Bell Helicopter. The helicopter is described as a medium sized chopper with two engines and one four bladed main rotor. The Marine Corps currently has 44 of the UH-1Y helicopters, which are said to operate in extreme conditions such as Arctic cold or desert heat.

Boeing Bell 212 Helicopter Crash in Mesa, Arizona

Two helicopter pilots survived a crash in a field in Mesa, Arizona. The pilots were aboard a Boeing Bell 212 helicopter. The reason for why the chopper went down is unknown and under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration. The helicopter was part of a three-plane Apache test flight for Boeing. The helicopter crashed four miles north of the takeoff. The two pilots were rushed to the hospital by airlift. It was only by the pilots’ experience that they were able to survive this crash. The investigation is still going on to find a probable cause for the accident.

Robinson R44 Helicopter Crash in Indiana, Pennsylvania

A helicopter with three passengers onboard crashed in Indiana, Pennsylvania while filming a reality show. The three passengers and pilot were flying a Robinson R44. Two of the three passengers were taken to hospitals. The helicopter crashed into two buildings off the campus of Indiana University. The pilot who was hospitalized developed respiratory problems died three weeks after the crash. Students inside the building where the helicopter crash were lucky to have survived, as they could have been killed by the accident, too. The chopper’s blades sliced through apartment walls, causing minor injuries to some residents. The cause for the crash is unknown yet under investigation.

CH-53D Sea Stallion Helicopter Crash

After a CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter crashed off Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, one Marine died and three were seriously injured. The helicopter was making an emergency landing about two miles off the coast of Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay when the crash happened. The Marine Corps is investigating its cause. The helicopter remained on its side in a shallow part of the bay and is expected to be salvaged. Of the other three crewmembers aboard, two were in intensive care while the other recovered quickly.

Sikorsky Helicopter Crashes in El Segundo, California

A Sikorsky helicopter burst into flames after crashing into a building in El Segundo, California. The helicopter was carrying a large air-conditioning unit off one of the buildings at an office complex when the pilot lost control and crashed. The crash set the first two flors of the building on fire. It took forty minutes and seventy firemen to put the fire out. The pilot was able to pulled out of the cockpit right before the helicopter caught fire. The pilot was rushed to the hospital with broken bones and burns and is expected to recover. The helicopter was completely destroyed with the fire and the pilot was lucky to have escaped before its destruction.

Helicopter Crashes At Tooele Valley, Utah Airport

Two people walked away from a helicopter crash at the Tooele Valley Airport Tuesday morning after the aircraft broke apart as it landed, according to sheriff deputies.

The crash was reported to Tooele County dispatch at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. When deputies arrived, they found the helicopter on the north end of the runway. Two people were onboard the aircraft, fortunately both were uninjured.

“They were practicing touch and goes and on the last touch and go they performed the landing was a little too hard and when the aircraft came down the tail broke off,” said Tooele County Chief Deputy Duke North.

The aircraft is owned by Upper Limit Aviation, located in Salt Lake City, Utah. A spokesperson for Upper Limit tells 2News the helicopter was piloted by two Upper Limit Aviation staff personnel performing additional training.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating to determine the cause of the crash.