NTSB: Highway Patrol pilot forgot to unclamp helicopter from transporter before crash

RALEIGH, NC (WITN) - Federal investigators say a Highway Patrol pilot said he forgot to unhook a transport clamp from one of the helicopter skids, causing it to crash last month.

The Bell OH-58A helicopter crashed on June 19th at a state-owned landing pad in Raleigh.

The pilot, Trooper R.M. Collie, and passenger, Clint Stone, received minor injuries in the crash that destroyed the state-owned helicopter.

A preliminary report from National Transportation Safety Board says Collie moved the chopper from the hangar to the helipad with an electric/hydraulic transporter that was attached to its skids.

During preflight operations, the NTSB says Collie removed the clamp from the left skid but was interrupted by Stone who asked about the removal of co-pilot controls in front of his seat.

"After removing the controls, he continued with the preflight inspection; however, he forgot to unhook the transporter from the right skid," the NTSB report said. When it took off, the helicopter began to roll "uncontrollably to the right until the main rotor blades struck the ground".

The helicopter was military surplus that was bought by the Highway Patrol for training.