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Navy criticizes crew in helicopter incident at Lake Tahoe

December 22, 2010 | 11:44 am

Navy investigators have criticized the flight commanders and air crew members of two helicopters involved in a hovering incident that led to "inadvertent water landings" in Lake Tahoe, according to a report issued Wednesday by Navy officials in Coronado.

Two MH-60R helicopters hovered over the lake and then settled briefly into the water before regaining sufficient power to resume flight. The incident came to public notice when a civilian video appeared on YouTube.

A Navy report said that the Sept. 13 incident began when the two commanders decided to attempt a hovering maneuver without sufficient preflight "engine performance calculations."

Crew members were cited for "complacency, lack of flight discipline and lack of command oversight."

"The investigation found that the mishap was entirely preventable had the aircrew followed required directives," said a statement issued by Naval Air Forces command at North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado.

The helicopters had been in Northern California for an air show in Sacramento. They returned to North Island three days later; cost of repairs to the two helicopters was put at $505,751.20.

The pilots were grounded during the early stage of the investigation.

The Navy concluded that no punitive actions were appropriate "but specific administrative measures are in progress to prevent a similar incident in the future."


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