-S. Sierra, LUKLA
A Mountain Air’s Airbus AS 350 B3e C/N 7420 helicopter with registration ‘9N-AKB’ met an incident in Tenzing Hilary Airport’s Helipad this morning. The airframe of the aircraft has suffered a substantial damage when another helicopter of Air Dynasty registered ‘9N-AMI’ was preparing to touchdown on helipad for landing.
The wash from the rotating rotor blades of Air Dynasty’s helicopter created turbulence and started moving the rotor blades of Mountain Air’s helicopter on the ground parked right next to its touchdown spot. The Mountain Air’s unfortunate aircraft was just about to turn off its engine after landing in the upper helipad of Lukla Airport.
The impact of its own rotor blade on the airframe has resulted some serious damages on the upper right side (as viewed from rear) near the tail boom section right over the trailing edge of fins, with some visible cracks and holes.
Unfortunately the aircraft will not be airworthy to fly until a major maintenance is carried out in the damaged fuselage and the ill-fated helicopter now lies grounded at Lukla Helipad.
The Engineering and Investigation team from CAAN have already been dispatched to Lukla from Kathmandu base for further investigation and inspection.
The Mountain helicopter was in the command of Capt. Pasang Sherpa and the Air Dynasty Helicopter was under the command of Capt. Saswat Dulal.
During the month of October until end of December, the weather around Lukla Airport and major parts of country gets favorable due to which a very high number of air travelers and tourists are active, that results a dramatic increase in flight frequencies in airport like Lukla.
Lukla Airport, a high elevation airport in mountainous region has very limited area for the airport zone with constricted parking zones for airplanes and helicopters. The peak season invites the persistent problem of congested air traffic on the air and congested parking in the ground.
Had there been enough parking spaces between the two aircrafts, the incident like this morning’s could have never occurred. This incident shows us than even a very tiny detail for safety can never be neglected when it comes to flying, specially in these high altitude congested areas.
The Lukla Helipad was closed for an hour following the incident and various other flights had been interrupted.