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NTSB Prelim: Bell Helicopter Textron 407

Helicopter Was En Route To Big Bear, California As Part Of A Weekend Skiing Trip

Location: Nuevo, CA Accident Number: ANC23FA031
Date & Time: March 24, 2023, 12:17 Local Registration: N14Z
Aircraft: Bell Helicopter Textron 407 Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On March 24, 2023, at 1217 Pacific daylight time, a Bell 407, N14Z, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Nuevo, California. The pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. According to a family friend, the helicopter was en route to Big Bear, California as part of a weekend skiing trip.

The helicopter was equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS–B), which provides aircraft tracking to determine its position via satellite navigation or other sensors and periodically broadcasts it, enabling it to be tracked. The information can be received by air traffic control ground stations as a replacement for secondary surveillance radar, as no interrogation signal is needed from the ground.

According to archived Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ADS-B data, the helicopter departed French Valley Airport (F70), Murrieta/Temecula, California, at 1205. After departure, the helicopter proceeded in a northernly direction. The last ADS-B reporting point was about 18 miles north of F70 at 1217 located at the accident site. Additionally, if an iPhone or Apple Watch detects a severe car crash and the user is unresponsive, the iPhone will attempt to contact emergency services with its location. A family member received a crash detection notification from the pilot’s iPhone shortly after the accident, and crash detection notification was forwarded to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Responding deputies arrived at the accident site at 1243.

The fragmented helicopter wreckage came to rest about 100 ft downslope in an area of rocky, hilly terrain on the north facing side of the hill, at an elevation of 2,560 ft above mean sea level (msl). All components were located within the main wreckage site. The right landing gear skid and a portion of the left landing gear skid were downslope of the main wreckage.

A detailed wreckage examination is pending.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov


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