NH90 crashes into Bracciano Lake during an airshow

On Jun. 1, 2008, at 15.15LT, an NH90 helicopter, serialled MM81519 EI-202 of the 1 Gr Sq of the Italian Army based in Viterbo crashed in the Bracciano Lake causing the death of Cap. Filippo Fornassi. The other 2 POB (People On Board) were rescued and survived the injuries.

The aircraft was at the end of its display in the Ali sul Lago airshow in front of the Italian Air Force Museum, at Vigna di Valle airport.

I was attending the show when I saw the helicopter performing a fiesler with an apex at low altitude: as soon as the aircraft’s nose was diving towards the lake, I understood that the pilot could not recover the chopper before touching the water. The helicopter touched the surface of water and broke up in many pieces before ditching. Many amateur videos of the accident, are available on Youtube too.

I took the following pictures during the accident (images are copyrighted and have a watermark because they can’t be used for any purpose without prior permission).

nh90-crash

nh90-crash-2

nh90-crash-3

nh90-crash-4

nh90-crash-5

Salva

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.

5 Comments

  1. That helicopter looks to be the U.S. Blackhawk helicopter, or something from that familly, very odd that it would crash that easily.

  2. that is not a sikorsky helicopter. it is made by nhindustries, founded by a combination of three european companies; agusta, eurocopter and stork fokker. a simple search of nh90 brings up more info than this. there are a number of things you cant see that can bring a helicopter down like maintenance issues, fod (including birds) and lack of time in seat with whatever specific model you are flying (each make and model handles very differently). hate to see such accidents. my thoughts for the lost and a speedy recovery to the survivors.

  3. Salve a tutti. Innanzitutto vorrei esprimere il mio più sincero cordoglio alla famiglia del Cap. Fornassi: son convinto che su tutto è prevalso, in quell’istante, l’istinto naturale di preservazione della vita umana, a costo, purtroppo ed inesorabilmente, della propria…
    Poi… questo incidente mi ha davvero sconvolto in quanto conoscevo bene il GITA#3: ci son salito qualche volta, per lavoro, ed a terra (non immaginate quanto mi sarebbe piaciuto starci in volo, ma non ne ho mai avuto l’opportunità), e sapere che è andato distrutto, con esso è andato in fondo al lago anche parte del mio entusiasmo per aver contribuito alla realizzazione di una macchina così affascinante.

  4. Kryotech, this elicopter was new (delivered to Army a few mounths ago) and I think that the reason of the accident was, most probably, due to an insufficient altitude from which started the performance of the fiesler. If you will see in the Agusta web site, you will read that this elicopter can flight in absolute safe mode also in OEI (One Engine Inoperative) and it is equipped with two excellent GE engines. Look around the web: you will find a lot of videos about it…
    Bye

  5. Sono un 1° Maresciallo Radar Meccanico in pensione e la passione per il volo mi ha portato a Bracciano quel giorno maledetto. Avevo visto l’NH 90 a Viterbo il giorno della consegna all’E.I. E’ stato a dir poco un evento traumatico impressionante e pensare che il giorno della presentazione, in condizioni meteo proibitive, con acqua e vento di notevoli intensità, aveva fatto le stesse cose ed era andato tutto ok. Impressionante. Un pensiero al Cap. Fornassi, alla sua famiglia per la grave perdita ed ai suoi colleghi. Ho vissuto con trepidazione quei momenti, ero li con una bella attrezzatura fotografica ma lo shoc è stato forte e non sono riuscito a seguire il resto del volo fino all’impatto perchè avevo intuito a metà della sfogata che avrebbe toccato l’acqua. E’ stato terribile.

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