Jump to content

Engine Failure on LACoFD Firehawk


Recommended Posts

NTSB Identification: LAX04IA311

14 CFR Public Use

Incident occurred Monday, August 30, 2004 in Pacoima, CA

Aircraft: Sikorsky S-70A, registration: N160LA

Injuries: 3 Uninjured.


This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.


On August 30, 2004, approximately 1240 Pacific daylight time, a Sikorsky S-70A twin-engine helicopter, N160LA, experienced an uncontained number 2 engine failure upon reaching cruise flight. The helicopter landed uneventfully with minor damage at the Whiteman Airport, Pacoima, California. The airline transport pilot and two paramedics were not injured. The helicopter was registered to, and operated by, the County of Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) as a public-use flight under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The helicopter departed an unimproved landing area approximately 5 minutes prior to the event, and was destined for Palmdale, California. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a company visual flight rules flight plan had been filed for the flight.


According to the LAFD chief pilot, the helicopter departed on its second flight of the day at an operating weight of 16,900 pounds. It departed the landing area, which was located on top of a mountain at the 3,700-foot level. The observed temperature was 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Upon reaching 100 knots with 80 percent torque, the pilot heard a loud bang followed by a slight yaw variation. The pilot observed that the number 2 engine parameters were indicating a loss of power. The pilot performed the emergency procedures, and diverted to the Whiteman Airport where he performed a run-on landing.


The helicopter's number 2 engine sustained uncontained engine damage at its 8 o'clock position, and the helicopter's titanium firewall was punctured in two locations. One piece of uncontained debris punctured the firewall within 1.5 inches of a fuel line.


The incident helicopter was a civilian version of Sikorsky's Black Hawk helicopter. It utilized two General Electric (GE) T700-701C turboshaft engines, each rated at 1,890 shaft horsepower. The number 2 engine (serial number GE-E-763397) accumulated a total of 1,493 hours, and had not yet undergone an overhaul. According to the LAFD mechanic, the engine was back at the GE service center approximately 100-200 hours prior to the event for an oil leak. The T700-701C engine is not Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificated, but shares numerous similarities with the CT-7 engines utilized on the SAAB 340 transport category turboprop airplanes. The engine has been shipped to GE's facility where it will be examined under the supervision of FAA personnel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dumb question from the uninformed, but what does it mean that the GE engine type in the helo was "not FAA certified"? Does that mean they were flying it in violation/illegally?

Will they be punished/fined for flying with that engine type?

What weight/benefits does FAA certification for components carry?   ???


PS - I haven't started aviation schooling yet, so don't jab too hard for me asking this question.  :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Replying to Scotty-O:


    In this case I don't really know.  It normally means that the aircraft was not presented to the FAA for certification in its current configuration, but it did not need to be.  The LACo aircraft operates as a public-use aircraft and does not need an FAA TCDS.  Hence all of the military surplus aircraft buzzing around my area, and yours too most likely, carrying passengers, even the public which would not be allowed in a 135 outfit.  The reason I say I don't know in this case is that The FAA TCDS lists this engine under its S-70 type certificate H2NE.


FAA webpage


Perhaps its just that the Firehawk is significantly different than the H-60L that it is based on and is not covered under the S-70 type certificate.  It's all FAA mumbo-jumbo anyway.  The engine is just an upgraded version of the engine that's been in there for years.  It's not like they went south of the border to pick up a Russian engine on the black market or anything.  Anyway, hope that helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...