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Fly school rapped over helicopter death crash; ACCIDENT.

Byline: CLAIRE BRENNAN

AIR accident investigators yesterday blasted a flying school's safety standards after two men were killed in a helicopter disaster.

Colm Clancy, 34, from Derrybeg in West Donegal, and his 24-year-old student Dermot Sheridan, of Co Clare, died when their aircraft hit power lines and plunged into a bog near Kilshanchoe, Co Kildare.

The European Helicopter Academy, which runs the course, only realised they were missing the following morning when the alarm was raised by family members.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit yesterday said the operations office was closed while the helicopter was on the training run - contributing to the alert not being raised until the following day.

Investigators also said Mr Clancy was overseeing an exercise that should have been done at the airfield as it required the helicopter to slip below the 500ft minimum safety height requirement.

The final investigators' report added: "The combination of the lack of flight following of the training aircraft and the fact that the instructor was performing an exercise that should have been carried out at the base airfield, indicates to the investigation that the level of oversight by the Flight Training Organisation on its instructors was unsatisfactory."

The Schweizer 269C-1 helicopter struck power cables attached to wooden poles 30ft off the ground at speed while performing an exercise known as autorotation.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 6, 2010
Words:221
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