Crew Unharmed in Bell Helicopter Test Crash

NTSB begins investigating cause of Texas mishap.

Two Bell Helicopter pilots flying a Bell 214ST on a test flight last week walked away unharmed after making an emergency landing in a Texas cotton field.

The pilots reportedly made a textbook emergency landing, only to have the helicopter tip onto its side when one of the wheels dug into the soft dirt. Video footage of the accident site shows the red-white-and-blue helicopter’s badly damaged five-blade main rotor and no sign of the tail rotor.

The helicopter being flown on the test flight last Tuesday was testing main rotor components for new models, possibly including the Bell 525 Relentless launched last February.

The Bell 214ST is a two-blade helicopter designed in the 1970s. The NTSB is investigating.