Co-Pilot Disputes NTSB Report

By Staff Writer | January 1, 2011

William Coultas, the co-pilot in a 2008 Carson Helicopters-operated crash of a Sikorsky S-61 near Weaverville, Calif., is claiming that the National Transportation Safety Board came to the wrong conclusions about what caused the helicopter to fall from the sky. Coultas is one of four survivors of the accident, which happened shortly after takeoff on Aug. 5, 2008 near Weaverville, Calif. Nine people died in the crash, including seven firefighters. Loss of power in one of the engines led to the accident, he claims—not the helicopter being overweight or the lack of FAA oversight, as NTSB asserted in its probable cause. “I was speechless—I could not believe what I was hearing,” he told the Associated Press following the release of the report. “I was there. I had the best seat in the house. I knew what happened.” Coultas and the family of the pilot who died in the crash, Roark Schwanenberg, are suing General Electric, Sikorsky and Columbia Helicopters, citing engine failure among other factors. (From January 2011 Rotorcraft Report)


Receive the latest rotorcraft news right to your inbox