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Kirtland Pave Hawk accident investigation complete

8/29/2005 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFPN) -- The Air Force has completed its investigation of the HH-60G Pave Hawk accident May 11 near Angel Fire, N.M., which resulted in the death of an Air Force flight engineer.

The accident investigation determined the primary cause of the mishap to be pilot error. Other factors included unfavorable weather conditions and general complacency of the flight crew both in planning and executing the mission.

The helicopter crew, assigned to the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., consisted of Maj. Larry Ouellette, pilot; Capt. John De Sir, co-pilot; and Tech. Sgt. Scott Bobbitt, flight engineer. The crew was conducting an instructor proficiency training sortie flight.

Major Ouellette maneuvered the helicopter into a turn at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire to allow the flight engineer to view a helicopter on display at the memorial. However, the pilot failed to maintain sufficient altitude above terrain and lost control of the aircraft. The helicopter crashed into a small knoll on the memorial's property.

The flight engineer was ejected from the main cabin and fatally injured. The pilot and co-pilot were treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released the same day. The aircraft was destroyed by the impact and subsequent fire. (Courtesy of Air Education and Training Command News Service)

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