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Sightseeing Helicopter Crashes In East River, 1 In


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7 people taken to hospital?  Is this a 5 or 6 place helicopter? Can someone tell me if the 6th person gets in with a squeeze or if 6 passengers fit comfortably. With DA that day already 2500 ft by 9am, 90 degree temperatures and taking off from that barge -  will a fully loaded longranger have the power to OGE/max performance takeoff? Can someone enlighten.  I sort of hope for the pilots sake there was a bang and a mechanical failure.  I wish all the occupants especially the pilot the best.  A most unfortunate accident, and I bet quite scary too.


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The Bell 206L LongRanger is a 7 place helicopter, looks like (because it is) a stretched version of the 5 place 206(B) JetRanger, with the two additional seats back-to-back with the two forward seats.


Product Specifications: Bell 206L-4  Links from that page to technical specifications including performance charts.


The accident aircraft was not a L-4 model though.  I believe it was a "straight L" manufactured in 1977.  206L at that time was supplied with an Allison 250-C20B series engine rated for 400 (420?) shp, not the current L-4's Rolls-Royce (Allison) 250-C30P rated for 650 shp.


Airliners.net page of Aircraft Data and History Airliners.net also has LOTS of pictures, including the accident aircraft N78TD in better times.


edit: from Aviation Today by Ron and Shannon Bower

"...LongRanger lineage


The first LongRanger was designated the Bell 206L, or "straight L," as it is now known. It was certified in 1975 and used the same engine as a JetRanger, the 429-shp Allison 250-C20B.


That wasn’t enough engine for the additional 800 pounds of gross weight (4,000 pound MGW). An optional feature was a water-alcohol pressure bottle in the baggage compartment that the pilot could use to squirt into the engine on takeoff to keep the TOT lower.


In 1978, the 206L-1 LongRanger was certified with a more powerful Allison 250- C28 engine that produced 500 shp. Gross weight went up to 4,150 pounds, and the transmission rating was raised from 420 shp to 435 shp. The engine was plagued by a series of Airworthiness Directives.


In 1981, the 206L-3 was certified with a still more powerful engine, the 250-C30P. This configuration was and still is a crowd pleaser, with 650 shp from the C30 and the transmission limit remaining at 435 shp. MGW also stayed the same as in the L-1, at 4,150 pounds. The L-3 was in production from 1982 to 1992, during which time Bell delivered more than 600 aircraft.


In 1992, the 206 L-4 was introduced with the identical airframe, but with a transmission improvement to 490 shp. This allowed an increase in the MGW to 4,450 pounds. The L-4 is in current new production, with 280 aircraft delivered..."

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I flew a few 'straight L' models over 20 years ago, but most have been converted to L*3s by replacing the engine with a C28, or even a C30.  Our old L models had water-alcohol injection, to cool the ITT during takeoff.  The C20 engines just didn't have the power to take off at max gross weight in the summer unless you had lots and lots of flat area to use.  Injecting a water/methanol mixture cooled the ITT enough to pull close to 100% torque for a few seconds, enough to get through transitional lift.


The L does have 7 seats, but if you fill them all, you won't have much fuel on board.  It's possible to carry 6 passengers, as long as they aren't too big, don't have much if any baggage, and you don't have much fuel.  Carrying offshore hands, don't even think about it.  Four can be problematic at times.  But for the typical tour or short hop in NYC, it's probably not that big a deal, unless it was a straight L without water/alcohol.  You can overtemp in a heartbeat in that case.  OGE hover is not possible, nor required.  If it will hover at 1', that's enough.  This ain't the UK.


I have no idea what engine was installed, nor what the cause of the accident was.

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