NTSB releases preliminary findings on crash between two Pasadena police helicopters

ALTADENA — Federal investigators late Friday released their preliminary report into a crash between two Pasadena police helicopters at the department’s heliport in Altadena last month.
The crash, which resulted in six minor injuries, took place about 4 p.m. Nov. 17, shortly after the conclusion of the USC-UCLA football game at the nearby Rose Bowl.
A Bell OH-58 helicopter was making a landing at the heliport, 2175 Yucca Lane, when its rotor struck that of another police helicopter, a Bell OH-58A, that was preparing to take off from a spot between two helipads, according to preliminary findings published by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Prior to the crash the OH-58 helicopter was conducting traffic patrol over the Rose Bowl. As the OH-58 flew over the stadium and adjacent parking lots, the OH-58A “was moved out of the hangar and parked immediately adjacent to the west side of Pad 1, placing it in between Pad 1 and Pad 2,” according to the report.
The parked helicopter’s engine was started and it’s rotor blades began to spin, in preparation for takeoff. A lieutenant was standing on the landing skids of the parked helicopter, beside an open door.
About six minutes after the first aircraft took to the air, ground personnel spotted to OH-58 returning from its flight, the NTSB report said.
“Once over the main landing pad, the helicopter was observed turning left, and then hover-taxied toward Pad 2,” according to the report. “Once the helicopter reached Pad 2 it turned to the right, and as it settled to the ground, the main rotor blades contacted the main rotor blades of the standing helicopter.”
A pilot and two passengers — including a civilian contractor — aboard the OH-58 were hurt in the crash. A pilot and and a passenger in the OH-58A were injured, along with one officer who was working on the ground, authorities said.
The federal investigation into the crash is ongoing, officials said. The full factual findings are expected to be released within a year, while a final report may take three years to complete, officials said.

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