this guy was supposed to be very experienced. Someone told me , and I'm not sure if it's even reliable, that none of these copters are equipped with the terrain warning system the NTSB advised way back around 2005 should be required and the FAA did not enforce it so they aren't on the copters like Sikorsky etc. Stupid. After this bet the FAA gets it's act together especially on the larger copters like this one. Either way the pilot should have not chanced it......he probably way underestimated the fog and way overestimated his own ability to handle it if it got as thick as most say it was. Apparently missed clearing that summit by about 30ft. Question is why he didn't ascend way up to get above it. I think you may be right DFW , he got disoriented because he was apparently descending or going level and at a pretty high rate of speed. Yup....sad and tragic and preventable. Sometimes you get a high profile passenger wanting to get to an event and you take chances....sounds like that's what the pilot may have done.....put the schedule of that game above safety. Bet that is the ultimate conclusion.
Mid 90’s we were visiting family in Phoenix for Thanksgiving and I got to go on a night patrol on Phoenix Sheriff”s helicopter with one of the pilots who was married to one of my cousins at the time. A call came through about a robbery and when we were over the scene, the pilots did a series of tight banking maneuvers pulling some serious G’s.
As a guy who loves roller coasters and doing adventurous shit, I’m not afraid to admit my stomach was in my throat for a few minutes - it was INTENSE, but I was loving it. My 15 year old nephew who came along for the ride, not so much, lol.
He had his eyes closed half the time, and when we leveled off he kept saying “we’re falling!! We”re falling!!”. I said, “open your eyes buddy”, and when he did figured out we were flying perfectly level and straight.
The mind can play tricks on you, even for experienced pilots. That’s why they always say “trust your instruments”. Reporting he did a rapid ascent, followed by a bank turn and dive.