Two Kaman K-Max external-lift helicopters operated by Grizzly Mountain Aviation crashed within days of each other in mid-March while on logging operations in Oregon, killing one pilot.

On 12 March, K-Max N133KA crashed during an attempted emergency landing near Dexter, Oregon after the helicopter started vibrating and became hard to control, says the US National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report. The pilot jettisoned the long-line and load and attempted to land in a forest clearing, but the aircraft dropped to the ground from about 20ft (6m). The pilot suffered minor injuries.

On 17 March, the pilot of K-Max N263KA was killed when his helicopter crashed near Dayville, Oregon following a loss of engine power in the hover, the NTSB says. The helicopter was at 200ft, with the long-line still attached, when witnesses heard the engine shut down. The aircraft descended vertically, rolled inverted and hit the ground. After the crash, both fuel filter and fuel samples appeared clean, the NTSB says.

Of 37 single-seat, single-engine K-Max helicopters built by Kaman before production was suspended, 11 have been written off.

Source: Flight International