LAS VEGAS , Feb. 13 /PRNewswire/ --
Ref: This press release is in reference to the Final Comments from the NTSB accident investigation of the AS350BA Helicopter Registration number N355NT that occurred in Hawaii on September 23, 2005 .
On behalf of the staff and management of Heli USA, we would like to express our deepest appreciation to both the National Transportation and Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Authority for their extensive efforts in investigating this incident and their assistance in promoting safety in the airline industry.
First and most important, all the employees and management of Heli USA want to express, once again, their most sincere condolences to the families of the passengers on board the helicopter. It is particularly upsetting for all of us as our company's number one priority has -- and will always be -- flight safety and this is the first serious accident the company has had after safely carrying more than 1 Million passengers.
Heli USA Airways owns and operates 12 A-Star Helicopters and has approximately 150 employees with bases in Las Vegas , The Grand Canyon, Kauaiand Oahu.
Each Heli USA pilot is highly qualified, logging substantial hours of real-time flight operations. Heli USA's internal safety and training programs even provide for two FAA designated check airmen on staff. All required general maintenance is completed on a daily basis by skillful Heli USA Airways mechanics -- many being factory trained by the helicopter manufacturer.
From the investigation our helicopter had no mechanical problems, company policies were appropriate and the helicopter was equipped with government-required safety equipment, including personal flotation devices.
It appears from the investigation that severe weather built up quickly on the North Shore of Kauai, generating severe wind sheer, thunder and microbursts. From all published reports it appears these conditions may have ledto causing the severity of the incident.
Since this event, Heli USA has installed additional safety equipment including external inflatable floats on its helicopters even though they are still not required under the new FAR 136 rule. The company has done so, so that its helicopters can fly beyond autorotative distance from shore and conduct inter-island commercial operations.
Heli USA is currently only one of two helicopter companies operating on Kauai with external inflatable floats.
In reference to the pilot involved, he is not currently flying for any aircarrier -- or helicopter company -- until recertified by the FAA.
SOURCE Heli USA
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The three passengers killed when their tour helicopter crashed on Kauai and the three survivors were from Arkansas, California and New York.
"When you have a hydraulic failure, you're perfectly able to get to the ground," Danko said. "If you have the floats out, you're no longer able to skid."