March 26, Van Nuys, Calif. / Aerospatiale AS350B


At about 22:13 PST, an Aerospatiale AS350B helicopter televising the Academy Awards ceremony crashed on landing approach to Van Nuys. The pilot and cameraman were seriously injured. While hovering over the event, the helicopter experienced a total loss of hydraulic pressure. The pilot opted to return to Van Nuys, about 15 miles away, instead of going to Santa Monica, five miles away. The flight was escorted back to Van Nuys airport by another news helicopter, with radio calls being made by the escorting pilot to relieve the workload of the pilot. The escorting pilot requested priority handling from the Van Nuys control tower. The helicopter appeared about 15 to 20 feet agl when it started a left climbing turn that resulted in one or more 360-degree turns. The main rotor blades then struck the ramp and the helicopter crashed.


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