The NTSB Investigative Update
has a lot of new info, facts, and new photos/diagrams. Note: the NTSB is calling it an Investigative Update and not a Preliminary Report (what's the difference? Isn't a Preliminary Report facts-only as well?)
Some interesting facts from the Investigative Update:
Examination of the main and tail rotor assemblies found damage consistent with powered rotation at the time of impact. Viewable sections of the engines showed no evidence of an uncontained or catastrophic internal failure.
At 0945, the pilot of N72EX again contacted SCT and advised he was climbing above cloud layers and requested advisory services. The second controller was not aware of the aircraft, as services had previously been terminated, so asked the pilot to identify the flight. The SCT controller then asked the pilot his intentions, to which he replied he was climbing to 4,000 feet. There were no further transmissions.
The descent rate increased to over 4,000 feet per minute (fpm), ground speed reached 160 knots. The last ADS-B target was received at 1,200 feet msl approximately 400 feet southwest of the accident site.
An ALERTWildfire camera image (figure 4) taken at 0944 PST looking southeast toward the city of Van Nuys, as publicized on the National Weather Service (NWS) Los Angeles Twitter account, depicted the top of the cloud layer to the east of the accident site. The NWS analyzed the top of the cloud layer to be about 2,400 feet above mean sea level
Figure 5a was taken by a witness on the mountain bike trail about 0950. The witness stated that the area was surrounded by mist. He said he began to hear the sound of a helicopter, which he described as appropriate for a helicopter flying while in a powered condition. He perceived the sound getting louder and saw a blue and white helicopter emerge from the clouds passing from left to right directly to his left. He judged it to be moving fast, travelling on a forward and descending trajectory. It started to roll to the left such that he caught a glimpse of its belly. He observed it for 1 to 2 seconds, before it impacted terrain about 50 feet below his position.
After the sale to Island Express in 2015, the helicopter was converted to an 8-passenger seat configuration with two pilot stations up front and eight passengers in the rear
, separated by a bulkhead with sliding acrylic windows. Passenger seating was 2 four- occupant divans, one facing forward, the other rearward.
The pilot logged about 1,250 total hours in the S76 helicopter. His most recent flight review, including proficiency training in inadvertent entry into instrument meteorological conditions (IIMC) and unusual attitude recovery
, was conducted in a helicopter with EUROSAFETY International on May 8, 2019. The pilot received satisfactory grades for these maneuvers.