Crashed Quorum Aviation helicopter had no fuel – AIB-N

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A preliminary report on Quorum Aviation’s Bell 206B 111 helicopter which crashed on July 28, 2020 in Opebi area of Lagos killing the three occupants onboard shows that the fuel tanks were empty after the crash.

The Accident Investigation Bureau Nigeria (AIB-N) disclosed this in a report released on Monday.

The agency stated that after refuelling, 10 minutes of engine run and 20 minutes of test flight were carried out on the aircraft on the eve of the accident.

“On 27th August 2020, a Bell 206B III helicopter with nationality and registration marks 5N-BQW, operated by Quorum Aviation Limited, was topped up with 247 litres of fuel to full tank capacity on ground Port Harcourt Military airport (DNPM).

“The technical logbook entry revealed that there was an engine run for 10 minutes and a test flight of 20 minutes in preparation for a positioning flight the next day.

“On 28th August 2020 at 09:15 h, 5N-BQW was started and at 09:20 h, the helicopter lifted off from DNPM as a ferry flight to EAN Aviation hangar, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos (DNMM).

“The flight was operated on a Visual Flight Rules (VFR) flight plan. According to the flight plan, on board were one pilot, an engineer and a fitter mechanic with fuel endurance of 3:15 h,” said AIB-N. 

Continuing, the agency said: “The helicopter was fitted with a range-extender fuel system. No fuel jettisoning capability on this helicopter. The helicopter has an endurance of 3:24 h. The operational flight plan filed by the pilot indicated an endurance of 3:15 h and an estimated flight time of 2:45 h. The helicopter engine was started at 09:15 h. 11. The helicopter took off at 09:20 h.

“The helicopter crashed at 12:14 h. There was no fuel left in the fuel tanks after the crash. The mast and main rotor blades were found intact during the post-crash inspection,” said the AIB-N.

The AIB-N explained that “the purpose of this preliminary report is to provide details of the initial facts gathered so far including discussions and findings surrounding the occurrence, information gathered from the witness accounts and a post occurrence inspection of the wreckage at the scene. The investigation is ongoing,” it added.

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