MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An initial accident report on a deadly helicopter crash in Kendall earlier this month spreads some light on what may have happened.
The accident happened April 3rd around 4 p.m. The helicopter, a Robinson R-4, took off from Kendall-Tamiami Executive airport. Pilot Mark Palmieri, 53, was at the controls and his passenger was 53-year old Ross Allan. Allan was a co-pilot for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue for Air Rescue North out of Opa-locka Fire Rescue.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board’s initial report, Palmieri had just had a new set of rotor blades installed on the helicopter. This installation required that the helicopter be test flown and that the blades be incrementally adjusted, on the ground after flight, to minimize any vibration to the helicopter. This maintenance procedure is referred to as track and balance.
Multiple witnesses reported hearing an “explosion” as the helicopter flew overhead. The NTSB report also said witnesses were also consistent in reporting that the rear section of the chopper broke off off before the main canopy section hit the ground in a parking lot at Southwest 122 Avenue and Southwest 128 Street.
Several witnesses also reported birds in the area as they looked up and saw the helicopter over their location.
One witness told investigators the remains of the chopper burst into flames about five minutes after it crashed.
Initial examination of the helicopter by an NTSB investigator and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, revealed that the cockpit, engine, and main rotor sections were either destroyed or heavily damaged by post-crash fire. The NRSB said the helicopter debris field stretched nearly 600 feet from the impact point.
The helicopter was owned and operated by Bravo Helicopters of Miami. Palmieri was the owner of Bravo Helicopters.