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Internal engine failure caused fatal logging helicopter crash, says TSB

A catastrophic engine failure led to the death of a logging helicopter pilot near Port McNeill last year, the Transportation Safety Board has concluded.

On the morning of April 6, 2022, a logging helicopter crashed after transporting cedar blocks during a logging operation. The pilot, Brent Fedirchuk from Port Alberni, was fatally injured. RCMP and a Canadian Armed Forces Search and Rescue helicopter responded to the incident.

The single-engine helicopter was owned and operated by Kestrel Helicopters, based out of Parksville.

The safety board’s investigation found the engine failed because of a combination of factors, including manufacturing defects undetectable during routine inspections and a fracture caused by stress which had gone undetected during maintenance a month before the crash.

The failure caused the helicopter to drop out of the sky, subjecting the pilot to a 53 g impact.

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The safety board’s report found the fracture was deep in the engine and not visible during maintenance inspections. It also found the pilot properly followed all procedures and had 6,000 flight hours doing similar work.

This May, helicopter engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce issued an advisory that customers upgrade to a newer model during the next overhaul.

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