Royal Canadian Air Force, January 27, 2019 - The Directorate of Flight Safety (DFS), based in Ottawa, Ontario, deployed two accident investigators to Kingston, Jamaica, from November 29 to December 8, 2018.
The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) requested the investigators to support an investigation into an accident involving one of their Bell 206 helicopters.
The Bell 206 is used by the Caribbean Military Aviation School (CMAS) as its initial training helicopter for new pilots. It is a single-engine two-bladed aircraft manufactured by Bell Helicopter in Mirabel, Québec.
Major Pete Butzphal and Captain Courtney Douglass from DFS, along with technical experts from Bell Helicopter and from Rolls-Royce, joined the JDF Air Wing Flight Safety team to try to understand what had occurred.
The helicopter crashed during a training exercise near Portmore, St. Catherine, just to the west of the capital city of Kingston. The student pilot was the sole occupant, and was taken to the University Hospital of the West Indies in stable condition. The aircraft sustained very serious damage and was assessed to be beyond economical repair.
The investigatuin team visited the accident site on many occasions, and looked at all the possible technical and/or human-factor causes that could have led to the accident. The way in which members of the multi-national investigation team worked together shows the great relationship Canada has had over the years with Jamaica, not only with training but also with investigations.
The investigation is ongoing, and the report will be released by the JDF in the coming months.