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NTSB Final Report: Albany, TX

Location:

Albany, TX

Accident Number:

CEN18LA069

Date & Time:

01/08/20181345 CST

Registration:

N797JR

Aircraft:

ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Defining Event:

Unknown or undetermined

Injuries:

1 None

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis

The commercial pilot stated that he was using the helicopter to round up cattle. He applied power to stabilize in a hover about 50 ft above the ground when he heard a single loud bang and "felt it in the pedals." The helicopter spun to the right, and the pilot applied full left pedal, which had no effect on the helicopter. The pilot stated that after about two spins, he entered an autorotation to remove torque from the rotor system. The helicopter contacted trees as it descended to the ground and came to rest upright with the tailboom separated.

Postaccident examination of the wreckage did not reveal any evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures of the main rotor and tail rotor systems that would have precluded normal operation; thus, the reason for the loss of control could not be determined.

Probable Cause and Findings

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

A loss of helicopter control for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination did not reveal any evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures of the main rotor and tail rotor systems that would have precluded normal operation.

Findings

Not determined

Not determined - Unknown/Not determined (Cause)

Factual Information

***This report was modified on 5/15/2019. Please see the docket for this accident to view the original report.***

On January 8, 2018, at 1345 central standard time, a Robinson R44 helicopter, N797JR, collided with trees and the terrain during an autorotation near Albany, Texas. The commercial pilot was not injured. The helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was registered to S2 Helicopter Services and was operated by an individual as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from a ranch in Albany, Texas, at 1310.

The pilot stated he was using the helicopter to roundup cattle when the accident occurred. He reported he applied power to stabilize in a hover about 50 ft above the ground, when he heard a single loud bang and "felt it in the pedals." The helicopter spun to the right and the pilot applied full left pedal which had no effect. The pilot stated that after about 2 spins, he entered an autorotation to remove torque from the rotor system. The helicopter contacted trees as it descended to the ground. The helicopter came to rest upright with the tail boom separated.

The pilot reported that he was not sure if there was a "mechanical problem" or not. His recommendation was "Conduct a better clearing turn to ensure that nothing was around including animals/birds" and to "maintain more forward airspeed in case of emergency."

The helicopter was sitting upright on the skids. The fuselage was intact and the tailboom was separated just forward of the empennage. Minor crushing damage was visible on the right side of the helicopter aft of the cabin area. Crush damage was visible on the left side of the helicopter above the front and rear skid struts. The main rotor blades, main rotor blade hub, and main rotor mast were intact. One of the main rotor blades exhibited minor bending near the outboard section of the blade. The other blade had a hole in the blade near the tip and the leading edge of the blade at the tip was pulled away from the remainder of the blade.

The empennage and tailrotor were separated from the tailboom. The tailrotor drive shaft separated at the aft flex plate. The drive shaft remained connected to the clutch assembly. The main rotor blades turned when the tailrotor drive shaft was rotated by hand. Ratchet marks were visible inside the tailboom near the aft flex plate. Corresponding damage was visible on the flex plate and drive shaft.

The trailing edge of the lower vertical stabilizer contained impact damage to the rear edge of the surface, pushing the skin forward toward the leading edge. The tail rotor blade assembly remained attached to the tail rotor gearbox. One tail rotor blade was bent outward 90 ° at the blade root. The other blade was bent out about 20° the blade root. The blade was free to turn when rotated by hand.


 


Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Pamela S Sullivan

Adopted Date:

07/08/2019

Additional Participating Persons:

Anthony Leinneweber; FAA; Lubbock, TX

Publish Date:

07/08/2019

Note:

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

Investigation Docket:

http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/dockList.cfm?mKey=96581

History of Flight

Maneuvering-hover

Unknown or undetermined (Defining event)

Autorotation

Hard landing

 

 

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Commercial

Age:

28, Male

Airplane Rating(s):

None

Seat Occupied:

Right

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

None

Restraint Used:

 

Instrument Rating(s):

Helicopter

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

Instrument Helicopter

Toxicology Performed:

No

Medical Certification:

Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

07/18/2017

Occupational Pilot:

No

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

03/11/2016

Flight Time:

3000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1700 hours (Total, this make and model), 2450 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 120 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 29 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

 

 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY

Registration:

N797JR

Model/Series:

R44 II II

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Year of Manufacture:

2006

Amateur Built:

No

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

11030

Landing Gear Type:

Skid;

Seats:

4

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

06/03/2017, Annual

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

2120 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

1 Reciprocating

Airframe Total Time:

2058 Hours

Engine Manufacturer:

LYCOMING

ELT:

Installed, not activated

Engine Model/Series:

IO-540

Registered Owner:

S2 HELICOPTER SERVICES LLC

Rated Power:

0 hp

Operator:

On file

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

None

 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual Conditions

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

BKD, 1284 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

25 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

1955 UTC

Direction from Accident Site:

90°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Clear

Visibility

7 Miles

Lowest Ceiling:

None

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

5 knots /

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

/

Wind Direction:

360°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

/

Altimeter Setting:

30.17 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

16°C / -1°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

Departure Point:

Albany, TX

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

None

Destination:

Albany, TX

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

1310 CST

Type of Airspace:

Class G

 

 

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:

32.730000, -99.309444 (est)

 






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Created 106 days ago
by jhadmin

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