Breaking News
More () »

How the NTSB investigates helicopter crashes

The National Transportation Safety Board will deploy a "Go Team" to the scene of the crash to begin its investigation.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Following the deadly crash of a helicopter on Interstate 77 in Charlotte Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate the cause of the crash.

While specifics of the investigation have not yet been released, the NTSB has a standard process it typically follows in the aftermath of an aviation crash.

"This process is not strictly linear, and phases overlap," the NTSB website states. "The timing between the beginning of an investigation and a probable cause determination and report varies based on the complexity of the investigation and the workload of the agency’s investigators."

An investigation typically takes 12 to 24 months to complete, according to the NTSB.

For the latest breaking news, weather and traffic alerts, download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app.

"NTSB investigators gather the data and information needed to analyze the accident and determine a probable cause," the agency explains.

The first observations will be made by an NTSB "Go Team," which is an immediate response team the agency will send to the scene of the crash.

"Clearly, they'll want to photograph the wreckage in place," Alan Diehel, a former NTSB air safety investigator, explained to WCNC Charlotte on Tuesday. "You want to preserve the evidence and air safety, investigators are much like crime scene investigators."

You can stream WCNC Charlotte on Roku and Amazon Fire TV, just download the free app.

Investigators are expected to review flight logs, maintenance records and personal interviews. 

"It doesn't appear from the images I'm seeing ... this crash was survivable," Diehel expressed.

After collecting their findings, the NTSB will publish a written report. 

"This report provides a description of the accident, a review of the investigative analysis, and a determination of probable cause," according to the NTSB website. 

Once finalized, a copy of the report would be made available to the public.

Click here to sign up for the daily Wake Up Charlotte newsletter


Before You Leave, Check This Out