National Transportation Safety Board releases final report in deadly HPD helicopter crash

HOUSTON – In May 2020, A Houston police helicopter crashed, killing 35-year-old Jason Knox, a tactical flight officer, and severely injuring the pilot, 35-year-old Chase Cormier.

Now, nearly two and half years later, The National Transportation Safety Board issued its final report with investigators saying they found no evidence of a pre-impact mechanical failure.

The crash happened at night when visibility was limited, while Cormier was flying at a low altitude and assisting officers on the ground.

“It is a very, very dangerous and challenging environment in which to operate a helicopter,” said Joshua Verde, a local aviation expert. “The NTSB is basically saying there was a loss of control, but they cannot pin it on one particular thing.”

According to the report, “The pilot recalled that just before the helicopter began to rotate, he felt a ‘strong vibration’ in the controls.” Adding that when investigators examined the wreckage after the crash, they found “no evidence of pre-impact failures of the main and tail rotor systems, flight controls or the engine. Based on the available data, the reason for the vibration described by the pilot could not be determined.”

Cormier told investigators he didn’t hear any unusual sounds or warning horns and did not see any caution or warning lights, saying “the helicopter was spinning like [the] tail was not functioning.”

Verde said what’s most interesting is that the NTSB invited the helicopter’s manufacturer to be a party to the investigation.

Verde said the company submitted its own proposed changes to the probable cause of the crash, suggesting it may have been caused by pilot failure.


About the Author:

Award-winning journalist, adventure seeker, explorer, dog lover.