September 25, 2023

A falling iPad brought down a helicopter fighting wildfires in the United States

picture – Photo deposit

And it ended with a small misstep leading to the tragedy of a helicopter in the United States that was on a firefighting mission. The incident with a Boeing CH-47 Chinook, of military origin, but operated by a civilian firefighting company, occurred in Idaho last year.

The plane was refilling its water basket when it went into a spin and crashed into the Salmon River, injuring the two pilots who later died in hospital.

Disclosure – NTSB

An investigation was launched by the NTSB, who found an iPad among the wreckage. A detailed analysis indicated that the device was stuck between the plane’s pedals.

iPads are standard equipment in aviation today, and are used with applications that support multi-purpose navigation, with graphs, maps, GPS, performance calculation features, and other useful functions.

Disclosure – NTSB

Whereas in larger aircraft it is attached to the cabin structure or to a suction cup attached to the windshield, in a helicopter, with a smaller cabin, spaces are limited. In this case, the pilots involved in the crash ended up leaving the device in their legs, according to investigators.

However, the belt holding the device ended up loosening and it fell between the pedals on the copilot’s side. The pilot could even try to reach the iPad, but due to the depth it was at, plus the plate and helmet preventing him from lowering himself further, he couldn’t reach it.

Disclosure – NTSB

The worst happened when the pedal was moved and the iPad caught the riders threaded mechanism. With that, the pedal was held in one position, and because it controls the helicopter’s direction, which in the case of the Chinook are counter-rotating engines, the pilots lost control.

In the next chapter, the CH-47 moved to one side and the pilots were unable to right the bank. Then, the equipment began spinning even tighter, going into a whirlpool and falling into the river, as shown in the video below recorded by a witness.

information from NTSBthe body responsible for the investigation, whose initial report was only released today, and further details will be included in the final report.