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NTSB Final Report: Dennis, WV

 

Location:

Dennis, WV

Accident Number:

ERA17LA209

Date & Time:

06/23/20171315 EDT

Registration:

N765KV

Aircraft:

HUGHES 369

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Defining Event:

Loss of engine power (total)

Injuries:

1 None

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 133: Rotorcraft Ext. Load

Analysis
The commercial pilot was conducting long line operations in the helicopter, and he was flying it in an aft or left attitude with a higher nose-up attitude than normal flight to compensate for the load's drag. He then transitioned the helicopter to a 100-ft hover over a landing zone, and shortly thereafter, the helicopter experienced a total loss of engine power. Subsequently, the pilot initiated an autorotation, and during the landing, a main rotor blade contacted and severed the tailboom.

Postaccident wreckage examination, which included a successful test-run of the engine, did not reveal evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. However, when the helicopter was positioned nose up with the remaining fuel onboard (about 7 gallons in each tank), the low fuel light illuminated. The two fuel tanks were connected by an interconnect passage, and each tank had an internal baffle. The fuel pickup was located in the right front portion of the left fuel tank. Given that the low fuel light illuminated when the helicopter was positioned nose up, it is likely that the helicopter's nose-up attitude during the long line operation led to the unporting of the remaining fuel, which resulted in fuel starvation.

The operator's risk assessment form required that pilots land the helicopter with at least about 14.7 gallons of fuel remaining for long line operations. After the accident, the operator amended its risk assessment form to require the same fuel requirement as side pull operations (about 37 gallons of fuel remaining upon landing) for long line operations.

Probable Cause and Findings
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The unporting of fuel due to the helicopter's nose-up attitude during long line operations, which resulted in fuel starvation and a total loss of engine power.

Findings

Aircraft

Fuel system - Not specified (Cause)


Factual Information
On June 23, 2017, about 1315 eastern daylight time, a Hughes 369E, N765KV, operated by Haverfield Aviation Inc, was substantially damaged during a hard landing near Dennis, West Virginia. The commercial pilot was not injured. The external load flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 133. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight.

The pilot reported that he returned to the landing zone with a conductor attached to a long line. The helicopter was in a 100-foot hover over the landing zone, while the pilot monitored a ground crewmember tasked to disconnect the conductor from the long line. The helicopter began to settle and the pilot raised the collective control; however, the helicopter continued to settle as a warning horn sounded and the engine noise ceased. The pilot then entered an autorotation and during the landing, a main rotor blade contacted the tailboom, which resulted in a tailboom separation.

The pilot added that prior to the hover, he was pulling the conductor with the helicopter in an aft or left attitude. He estimated that the loss of engine power occurred 45 seconds to 1 minute after transitioning from the pull to a hover.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector witnessed a subsequent wreckage examination, which included a successful test-run of the engine. No preimpact mechanical malfunctions were noted and the low fuel light illuminated when the helicopter was positioned nose-up with the remaining fuel onboard. The inspector added that approximately 7 gallons of fuel remained in each of the two fuel tanks at the time of the loss of engine power. The two fuel tanks were connected by an interconnect passage and each tank had an internal baffle. The fuel pickup was located in the right front portion of the left fuel tank.

The FAA inspector further stated that during the accident flight, the conductor was not completely off the ground and was being dragged over terrain. To compensate for the dragging resistance, the pilot had the helicopter in an aft or left attitude, with a higher nose-up attitude than normal flight. The operator's risk assessment form required that the helicopter be topped off (64 gallons) with fuel prior to and only fly for 1 hour during side pull operations, which would leave about 37 gallons of fuel remaining. For all other operations, including long line operations, the fuel requirement was to land with at least 100 lbs. (about 14.7 gallons) of fuel remaining. At the time of the accident, the helicopter had about 14 gallons of fuel remaining. After the accident, the operator amended its risk assessment form to include the same fuel requirement in long line operations as side pull operations.


Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Robert J Gretz

Adopted Date:

04/04/2019

Additional Participating Persons:

Charles Monola; FAA/FSDO; Charleston, WV

Joan Gregoire; MD Helicopters; Phoenix, AZ

Jon Michael; Rolls-Royce; Indianapolis, IN

John Hobby; Boeing; Seattle, WA

Stan Braun; Haverfield Helicopters; Gettysburg, PA

Publish Date:

04/04/2019

Note:

The NTSB did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Investigation Docket:

http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/dockList.cfm?mKey=95423

History of Flight

Maneuvering

Fuel starvation

Maneuvering-hover

Loss of engine power (total) (Defining event)

Autorotation

Hard landing

Landing

Part(s) separation from AC

 

 

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Commercial

Age:

31, Male

Airplane Rating(s):

None

Seat Occupied:

Left

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

Helicopter

Restraint Used:

4-point

Instrument Rating(s):

Helicopter

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

Helicopter; Instrument Helicopter

Toxicology Performed:

No

Medical Certification:

Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

06/02/2017

Occupational Pilot:

Yes

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

04/30/2016

Flight Time:

4325 hours (Total, all aircraft), 2556 hours (Total, this make and model), 4282 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 126 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 43 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

 

 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

HUGHES

Registration:

N765KV

Model/Series:

369 E

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Year of Manufacture:

1980

Amateur Built:

No

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

0082E

Landing Gear Type:

Skid

Seats:

4

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

06/06/2017, 100 Hour

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

3000 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

16 Hours

Engines:

1 Turbo Shaft

Airframe Total Time:

28285 Hours at time of accident

Engine Manufacturer:

Rolls-Royce

ELT:

C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident

Engine Model/Series:

250 C20B

Registered Owner:

HAVERFIELD INTERNATIONAL INC

Rated Power:

420 hp

Operator:

HAVERFIELD INTERNATIONAL INC

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

Rotorcraft External Load (133)

Operator Does Business As:

HAVERFIELD AVIATION INC

Operator Designator Code:

 

 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual Conditions

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

LWB, 2301 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

15 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

1315 EDT

Direction from Accident Site:

120°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

 

Visibility

7 Miles

Lowest Ceiling:

Broken / 3200 ft agl

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

8 knots /

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

None

Wind Direction:

240°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

N/A

Altimeter Setting:

29.97 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

22°C / 19°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

Light - Rain; No Obscuration

Departure Point:

Dennis, WV

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

None

Destination:

Dennis, WV

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

1215 EDT

Type of Airspace:

 

 

 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 None

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Passenger Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

1 None

Latitude, Longitude:

38.038889, -80.730833 (est)

 





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Created 100 days ago
by jhadmin

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