Archive for Thursday, March 15, 2007

Helicopter crash remains mystery

March 15, 2007

Cause of helicopter crash unsolved

The cause of a helicopter crash two months ago in southern Douglas County remains a mystery.

The aircraft's pilot blamed the crash on the failure of the tail rotor, but a National Transportation Safety Board report released Thursday said no reason for that failure could be determined.

The Jan. 3 crash injured pilot James L. Dohrman, 45, De Soto. His wife, Miya M. Dohrman, 47, was a passenger but wasn't seriously injured. The Marino EXEC 162F came down in trees east of Baldwin City.

The Dohrmans had taken off from Paola and were flying to Lawrence when the aircraft made an "uncommanded turn to the left," according to the report.

The pilot attempted a maneuver toward an opening in a wooded area. The helicopter settled into some trees, rolled to the left and came to rest inverted in the trees. The fuselage and tail boom were damaged and the main rotor blades were destroyed, according to the report.

James Dohrman told investigators the helicopter tail rotor stopped working 15 minutes into the flight at 1,500 feet. But the NTSB report said the tail rotor drive belts were found to be intact and undamaged. The belts had a life limit of 250 hours but had accumulated only 80 hours.

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