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Transport Canada issues safety warning for some helicopters following crash outside Evansburg

A defective rotor pin has been identified in the Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into a fatal helicopter crash near Evansburg, temporarily grounding a number of the aircraft.

(C) Provided by Edmonton Journal Heath Coleman, 48, died in a helicopter crash while fighting a wildfire west of Edmonton on June 28, 2021.

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On June 28, the Bell 212 helicopter was fighting a wildfire near Evansburg when it crashed , killing the pilot. On Monday, Transport Canada issued an emergency airworthiness directive, halting the flight of helicopters found to have the same rotor pin as the helicopter involved in the mishap until the pin is replaced.

Load Error “During investigation of a recent Bell 212 helicopter fatal accident in Canada, it has been discovered that one of the outboard main rotor hub strap pin(s) … sheared off during flight, leading to detachment of the main rotor blade and the main rotor head,” the directive states.

The failed rotor hub strap pin had only accumulated 20 hours of service, according to the notice. Inspection of another Canadian Bell 212 helicopter found a pin with the same part number, made by the same manufacturer and with the same serial number prefix was found to be deformed after only about 29 hours of service. “Failure of a main rotor hub strap pin will result in detachment of the main rotor blade and loss of control of the helicopter,” the directive states.

Although the defective main rotor hub strap pins were only reported on Bell 212 helicopters, the same strap pins can also be installed on Bell 204B, 205A-1 and 205B helicopters, Transport Canada said. While the cause of the failure has not been determined, Bell has issued alert service bulletins as a precautionary measure, to require the replacement of all of the affected main rotor hub strap pins. Bell’s alert states the pins “may have not been manufactured in accordance with the engineering design requirements and may shear as a result of the non-conformance.”

The June 28 crash of the Bell 212 helicopter killed the pilot and sole occupant, who has been identified as 48-year-old Heath Coleman in a GoFundMe set up by his employer , Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing. A statement on the GoFundMe says Coleman, also known as ‘Heater,’ loved to fly and “was one of the most experienced pilots in the industry.” He was a pilot with Yellowhead Helicopters and the Blue River, B.C. base manager at Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing. “As a first responder in fighting wildfires, Heath lost his life in the line of duty while protecting people and property.

We honour his service to others as the highest calling,” the GoFundMe states. Coleman leaves behind his wife and two adult sons. The company has set a goal of raising £30,000 to support Coleman’s family.

So far, more than £20,000 has been raised. Alberta Wildfire currently lists the wildfire near Evansburg as under control at 175 hectares in size. [email protected]

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