News release

Loss of tail rotor effectiveness led to 2013 helicopter crash near Fort McMurray, Alberta

Edmonton, Alberta, 5 February 2014 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (A13W0070) into a collision with terrain of a Bell 206B helicopter near Fort McMurray, Alberta.

On 29 May 2013, the Bell 206B helicopter operated by Wood Buffalo Helicopters was conducting wildlife survey work approximately 75 nautical miles north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, with one pilot and two passengers on board. While looking for a landing site, the helicopter entered an un-commanded rotation and descended into a stand of trees. The emergency locator transmitter activated on impact. There was no post-impact fire. The pilot and rear-seat passenger were fatally injured and the front-seat passenger was seriously injured.

The investigation found that the helicopter had entered a flight condition that resulted in a loss of tail rotor effectiveness causing a loss of control at an altitude that made recovery impossible and resulted in a collision with terrain.

Following the occurrence, Wood Buffalo Helicopters has made changes to its pilot's training forms to document that Loss of Tail Rotor Effectiveness (LTE) was completed during their Technical Ground Training and Flight Training programs. Wood Buffalo Helicopters also conducted an internal LTE awareness campaign through a company safety meeting as well as through the creation and distribution of an operations bulletin on LTE and the hazards related to slow and low flight.


The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053
Email: media@tsb.gc.ca