Oct. 25, San Jose, Calif. / McDonnell Douglas helicopter


At 15:37 PDT, a McDonnell Douglas 500N operated by the City of San Jose Police Department crashed in a city street, killing the pilot and passenger. Two days earlier the pilot had made a precautionary landing at Reid-Hillview after the helicopter suffered an uncommanded yaw, which a technician traced to a failed stability augmentation system. After additional checks, and determining that they could legally fly back to San Jose with the SAS system off, the pilot decided to return to San Jose. The pilot performed numerous left and right pedal turns in hover prior to departing. Subsequently, witnesses reported seeing the helicopter descending rapidly while spinning to the left.


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