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Sao Paulo sees four crashes in four days

São Paulo's fixed and rotary-wing corporate aviation community recently suffered the loss of three helicopters in one day, followed three days later by the crash of a Bombardier Learjet 35A.

There were 11 fatal injuries on the ground and aboard the aircraft involved.

In slightly more than 2h on 1 November, two helicopters crashed inside São Paulo's metropolitan area, while a third came to grief in upstate São Paulo.

The first, a privately owned Robinson R44 (PT-YMF), appears to have experienced an power loss shortly after departing a helipoint at Carapicuíba, resulting in the death of three of its four occupants.

Some 40min later, a privately owned Robinson R22B (PT-YOU) undergoing an inspection flight crashed in Mogi das Cruzes, causing injuries to its two occupants.

The final helicopter accident occurred when an ABC Helicópteros-operated Bell 206B (PT-HTJ) crashed and burned moments after take-off from Ribeirão Preto's domestic airport. It is believed that high wind conditions may have played a role in the last two incidents.

Meanwhile, on 4 November a Reali Taxi Aéreo Bombardier Learjet 35A (PT-OVC) dived into a group of houses shortly after departing from São Paulo's Campo de Marte airfield, causing the death of its two pilots and six people on the ground. There were no passengers on board.

Executing a non-standard right-hand departure after take-off from Campo de Marte's 1,600m (5,245ft) Runway 30, the jet was seen in a nose-high attitude before departing controlled flight and slamming into houses 800m north of the threshold of Runway 12. Initial findings indicate that one of the aircraft's engines was idling or had stopped before impact.

With much of nearby Congonhas airport's corporate aviation traffic dispersed to other São Paulo state airfields in the wake of the TAM Airbus A320 accident, Campo de Marte's traffic has risen by nearly 30% in the past three months.

Handling mostly mid-sized and smaller business jets due to existing useable runway restrictions, the Learjet accident has brought Campo de Marte under scrutiny by local authorities that wish to restrict its use solely to helicopters.

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