Commercial, Public Service, Regulatory

Prison for Ex-Carson Helicopters Execs

By Staff Writer | June 19, 2015
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Two former Carson Helicopters executives have been sentenced to U.S. prison after convictions for their role in the fatal 2008 crash of a firefighting S-61N. Steven Metheny, Carson’s VP in Grants Pass, Ore. at the time, was sentenced to 12.5 years. Levi Phillips, then Carson’s director of maintenance, received a 25-month sentence. The Carson-modified Sikorsky helicopter crashed Aug. 5, 2008 on takeoff from a 6,000-foot helispot near Weaverville, Calif. while fighting the Iron Complex fire. The pilot-in-command, an inspector pilot and seven firefighters were killed. The co-pilot and three other firefighters were severely injured. Investigators determined that aircraft performance charts in the company submission that won the U.S. Forest Service contract had been falsified. Metheny and Phillips had pled guilty in 2014 and 2013, respectively, to charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Metheny also pled guilty to making false statements in defrauding the Forest Service.
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