Fatal Helicopter Crash in Indonesia.

  • Nov 10, 2013 11:47am GMT

I've been following the recent tragedy of the Mi-17 crash that occurred recently in Indonesia. I'll start by saying that my heart, prayers, and thoughts are with the families that have lost, and those caring for injured loved ones. The last official report I've been able to find is listed below and I'm hoping more information will be forthcoming. The article lists that high winds in the area were reported at the time of the incident. I found that remark a bit odd. As any helicopter pilot would believe, I find it difficult to understand how any pilot could miss judge the wind direction to the point that they'd find themselves in a fatal situation. Unlike a fixed wing aircraft, a helicopter can obviously hover, slow down and change headings upon detection of changing weather situations. Wind shear is always something we as aviators fear, but I'm a bit skeptical in this situation. The article also lists power loss prior to crashing. The MI-17 (HIP), is a great helicopter for it's time. Hot, heavy, and high altitudes it succeeded in. But with aviation advances in rotary wing flight, it begs the question. Is the MI-17 becoming an antiquated asset with diminishing supply chains? I don't know what the exact cause of this tragedy is, but I'm hopeful that information will be forthcoming. Anything that we can learn from this loss will help prevent future incidents...Not only for MI-17 operators but the rest of us all.

JAKARTA, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Indonesia authorities said they returned Sunday to the scene of a military helicopter crash that left 13 people dead and six injured. The Mi-17 chopper went down Saturday in a remote area of the Malinau regency while ferrying a civilian construction crew to an outpost on the Malaysian border.

Rescuers were able to evacuate four injured workers and two crew members but could not recover the bodies of those killed due to fading daylight.

"The helicopter was heading to its destination when it suffered a sudden power loss causing it to crash and burst into flames," Rear Adm. Iskandar Sitompul, a spokesman for the Indonesian military, told reporters in Jakarta.

The Jakarta Post said there were strong winds reported in the area at the time of the crash.