posted on Oct, 25 2015 @ 07:33 PM
A Marine UH-1Y Huey helicopter that crashed in California was caused by a combination of a maintenance failure, and pilot error a board found. The
Huey was flying from Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in California. The aircraft
crashed 400 yards from where the crew planned to land.
The report states that 34 minutes into the 49 minute flight, the oil pressure gauge fluctuated, then dropped to 0. A week prior the aircraft had
undergone maintenance for a bad reading, which included replacing the oil pressure sensors. The board believes that the crew thought it was a sensor
problem, as they chose to continue the flight, even though loss of oil pressure would render the aircraft unflyable within 15 minutes, and they had
just over 15 minutes to go to get to their destination. They flew past at least two airports that they could have landed at, and radioed ahead to
have avionics troubleshooters available to go over the aircraft.
Three days prior a new seal cover was installed, that was installed improperly and either came off or leaked during the flight. Some time prior to
the mishap, and unapproved epoxy was used on the filter body, preventing them from removing the body to change the filter, although it appears that
the filter didn't play a role. However, because of the tight area the box is in, both the marines working on the aircraft, and QA supervisors missed
that the retaining ring didn't seal properly.
Marines from a UAV squadron were working in a hangar nearby, and rushed to the scene, pulling both pilots out of the aircraft, and providing first
aid, but neither pilot survived. The height that the aircraft fell from was too much for the seats to absorb, and both pilots died of multiple blunt
force trauma injuries.
Two Marine pilots killed in a January helicopter crash in California were just a few hundred yards from their destination when the transmission of
their aircraft seized, stopping its main rotor and causing it to plummet, according to a lengthy investigation into the crash.
Improper aircraft maintenance and pilot misjudgment contributed to the fatal Jan. 23 UH-1Y Venom helicopter crash near Marine Corps Air Ground Combat
Center Twentynine Palms, investigators wrote in the accident report. The report was obtained by Marine Corps Times through a Freedom of Information
The pilot, Maj. Elizabeth Kealey, and co-pilot, Capt. Adam Satterfield, were killed in the crash. Both were assigned to Marine Light Attack Squadron
169, and were concluding a short flight from Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, their home base, to participate in an exercise with the rest of
their squadron. Kealey was a captain at the time and Satterfield a first lieutenant — the pair was posthumously promoted during a February
At the heart of the tragedy was an improperly installed filter cover, which allowed the transmission to dump all its oil during flight. Ultimately,
investigators found that the aircraft plummeted 200 feet, just 400 yards away from the Marines' intended landing point.