Thursday, 15 November 2018

The AgustaWestland AW169 helicopter 'did not respond to pilot's command' in Leicester City crash

taking off, seconds before crashing.  Captured by BT Sport
The UK's Civil Aviation Authority Air Accidents Investigation Branch has released an initial interim report into the helicopter crash at Leicester City Football Club that caused the death of five people, including the clubs chairman and owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

The report detailed the route the helicopter had taken in the hours before the tragic crash on 27th October. The report indicates the helicopters first flight of the day was from its Fairoaks Airport base in Surrey with the pilot and one passenger on board to go to the London Heliport in Battersea on the banks of the Thames. There it picked up three more passengers before it flew up to Leicester and landed at Leicester City Football Club's training ground at Belvoir Drive. It is then understood that those onboard went to the King Power stadium to watch the match. The pilot and one passenger returned to the training ground, to fly the helicopter back to the stadium and landed in the centre of the pitch. It picked up three people and took off on a flight that was due to go to London's Stanstead airport. However, less than 40 seconds after lifting off, the helicopter started to turn right "contrary to the pilot's left pedal command" the AAIB report states. The cause of the apparent loss of control is still being investigated.

After taking off, the helicopter, an AgustaWestland AW169 "entered an increasing right yaw contrary to the pilot's left pedal command" states the reports, it reached an estimated height of 430ft before it descended and crashed in an "approximately upright position". There was no indication or evidence at this stage, the report also states, of the helicopter hitting a drone or having suffered any other interference.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch advised that extra safety checks have been ordered on the tail rotor mechanism of helicopters of a similar type to the AgustaWestland AW169 that crashed "As a priority".

The five people that died in the crash have been confirmed as Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, two members of his staff, Kaveporn Punpare and Nusara Suknamai, pilot Eric Swaffer and passenger Izabela Roza Lechowicz.