ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that a European helicopter manufacturer change the design of a lever in its Eurocopter AS350-series helicopters due to safety concerns.
The recommendation letter cites a 2008 crash in Alaska, in which four men were killed and a 14-year-old boy was the only survivor.
The NTSB found that the survivor, Quinn Ellington, had inadvertently bumped the fuel flow control lever, which is located on the floor between the two front seats, with either his foot or backpack. The lever's movement caused an overspeed of the helicopter's turbine engine and a loss of engine power, the NTSB found.
The investigation also faulted the pilot for not securing the teen's backpack, and the manufacturer's design and placement of the lever. Other crashes and hard landings have been attributed to the placement of the lever and its inadvertent movement.