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Incident Name: McGinnis Flats Fire near Keller, WA on the Colville Indian Reservation
Date: 7/25/2003
Personnel: Randall L. Harmon
Age: 44
Agency/Organization: Superior Helicopter, LLC, Grants Pass OR under contract with the Coleville Indian Reservation BIA
Position:

Summary: Pilot Harmon was operating a twin-engine Kaman K-MAX helicopter while fighting the 2,200-acre fire McGinnis Flats fire near Keller, Washington on the Colville Indian Reservation. The helicopter was carrying a 660-gallon bambi bucket. The aircraft had recently been fueled and Pilot Harmon was flying his 4th mission of the day. Observers on the ground reported a change in the sound of the aircraft and Pilot Harmon radioed that he was in trouble. The helicopter crashed and a subsequent fire consumed most of the wreckage. Pilot Harmon was killed upon impact.

 

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Maps

McGinnis Flats Fire near Keller, Washington on the Colville Indian Reservation

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Concise Information from the NTSB, FAA, WFF and research by the WLF Staff:
    • 7/25/2003
    • 1 killed: Randall L. Harmon
    • Operator: Superior Helicopter, LLC, Grants Pass OR under contract with BIA
    • Type: Kaman K-MAX K-1200
    • Location: McGinnis Flats fire near Keller, WA on the Colville Indian Reservation
    • FAA Registration # N314KA
    • NTSB # SEA03GA153
  • National Transportation Safety Board: example Factual Report (95 K pdf)
  • National Transportation Safety Board: Probable Cause (html)

    The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

    Corrosion fatigue within the blade retention bolt bushing(s) of the main rotor blade grip resulting in fatigue, cracking and ultimate separation of the upper grip plate. The separation of the upper blade grip plate led to a dynamic imbalance within the rotor system and the subsequent loss of all four rotor blades in flight.
  • NTSB: Full Narrative (html)
  • For more information consult the NTSB online lookup Utility Use NTSB Identification: SEA03GA153

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Wildlandfire.com Links:

 

 

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Media Articles and Reports

  • Grants Pass Pilot Killed in Crash Over Wildfire

    7/27/2003 | Online Article

    AP -KELLER, Wash. ' A Grants Pass pilot killed in a helicopter crash on the Colville Indian Reservation had extensive experience fighting wildfires from the air, authorities said Saturday. Randall Harmon, 44, was the only one on board the Kaman K-1200 when it went down Friday while dropping water on the McGinnis Flats fire near this town in northeastern Washington. We're a small company and it really hits home, said Andy Mills, marketing director for Superior Helicopter LLC, based in Grants Pass.

    A married father of two, Harmon had worked for Superior Helicopter for seven years. He had more than 9,500 flight hours in 20 years of experience as a helicopter pilot, said Bill Wilburn, a fire information officer with the state Department of Natural Resources.

    The National Transportation Safety Board was leading the crash investigation. Two Superior Helicopter representatives were sent to the crash site Saturday to assist NTSB investigators, Mills said. We have no indications whatsoever what happened, Mills said. Whatever happened, happened quickly. That's all we know. (more at the link...)

  • Harmon named as fallen:
Randall Harmon Randall Harmon

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

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