Missing engine part from Iron 44 helicopter crash

One “possibly crucial engine part” from the fatal helicopter crash on the Iron 44 fire last year in northern California that killed nine firefighters and pilots was missing when the crash debris was shipped from Columbia helicopters to the National Transportation Safety Board.

From Aero-News.net:

The wreckage from the aircraft involved in the so-called “Iron 44” incident had been sent to Columbia Helicopters, where NTSB and FAA officials observed while technicians tore down the aircraft’s engines. The NTSB subsequently asked that the engines be shipped to Washington, DC, but a footnote in the 500 page preliminary report indicates  “upon opening the shipping containers, an inventory of the hardware revealed that the following components from the FCU (Fuel Control Unit) Number 1 were not present: Metal position adjusting cover, snap retainer ring, spring retainer cap, spring and bellows.”

The FCU’s control the amount of fuel delivered to the engines.

A review of the video recording of Columbia employees packing the shipping containers shows the parts were not among the items shipped.

KDRV-TV reports that the general council for Columbia Helicopters said, while employees have searched “high and low” for the missing parts, they have been unable to locate them. The company says the FCU’s may not be a focus of the investigation, and therefore may not be important.
Greg Anderson, the attorney for William Coultas, the surviving pilot from the crash, as well as the family of one of those killed in the incident, told the station the omission of the parts from the shipment is “highly suspicious.”



Thanks Kelly

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.