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Air transportation safety investigation A12P0008

The TSB has completed this investigation. The report was published on 28 May 2014.

Table of contents

Engine power loss and hard landing

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Eurocopter AS 350 B3 (helicopter), C-FMPG
Cultus Lake, British 17, 1.5 nm E

View final report

The occurrence

At 1351 Pacific Standard Time, Air Five, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Eurocopter AS 350 B3 helicopter (registration C-FMPG, serial number 3082), with only the pilot on board, took off from an open field near Cultus Lake, British Columbia, on the outskirts of the city of Chilliwack. The helicopter slowly travelled nearly 260 feet to the north, and then hovered at about 80 feet above the ground for approximately 30 seconds. Suddenly, a distinct noise and a puff of grey/white vapour from the engine area occurred, followed by a rapid loss of rotor revolutions per minute. The helicopter descended quickly, and within seconds, landed heavily on the snow-covered terrain. Upon impact with the ground, the helicopter fuselage collapsed and the fuel tank ruptured. There was no fire. The helicopter was destroyed, and the pilot was fatally injured. The emergency locator transmitter activated and was detected by the search and rescue satellite system. The accident occurred in daylight at 49°04′13″ N and 121°56′08″ W, at an elevation of about 650 feet above sea level.

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Bill Yearwood

Bill Yearwood got his first flying lessons on fixed-wing aircraft at 13 and was flying helicopters by the time he was 20. He holds an Airline Transport license, and has accumulated more than 10,000 flight hours in a wide variety of operations across Canada and in South America. These include: heli-logging, medevac, Arctic and offshore exploration, flight training and certification flight testing.

After 18 years of commercial flying, Mr. Yearwood joined Transport Canada in the Pacific region, where he worked as an Air Carrier Inspector and then as the Regional Manager of System Safety. During his time at Transport Canada he was a check pilot, helped draft the Canadian Aviation Regulations and helped perform audits of operations around the world.

Mr. Yearwood joined the TSB in 1999 as the Regional Manager and has worked as the Investigator-in-Charge on several aviation occurrences. He has worked diligently to improve safety in aviation, and is well known in the West Coast aviation community.

Class of investigation

This is a class 3 investigation. These investigations analyze a small number of safety issues, and may result in recommendations. Class 3 investigations are generally completed within 450 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

TSB investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.