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NTSB Final Report: Beattyville, KY

 

Location:

Beattyville, KY

Accident Number:

ERA17LA103

Date & Time:

02/07/2017, 0520 EST

Registration:

N135LG

Aircraft:

EUROCOPTER DEUTSCHLAND GMBH EC 135

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Defining Event:

Hard landing

Injuries:

3 None

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled - Air Medical (Medical Emergency)


Analysis 

According to the airline transport pilot, he was dispatched on the emergency medical flight to an accident scene about 35 nautical miles from his base operations. The pilot checked the weather, completed the risk assessment form, and departed for the scene in the helicopter. He further stated that he climbed to 2,500 ft mean sea level and noted the winds to be from the southwest at 35 knots. He stated he was comfortable flying in these conditions and had flown in similar wind conditions several times before. The pilot stated that he was cautious of electrical wires that were next to the intended landing helipad. He came over the wires at 100 ft to clear them and then started to descend the helicopter at a rate of about 200 ft per minute. As the helicopter approached the ground, he increased the collective but was unable to slow the descent. The helicopter landed hard, bounced, and rolled onto its right side. The pilot stated that there were no known mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter before the accident. Thus, it is likely that the pilot failed to maintain helicopter control while landing.

Probable Cause and Findings

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

The pilot's failure to maintain helicopter control while landing, which resulted in a hard landing and subsequent roll over.

Findings

Personnel issues

Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

On February 7, 2017, about 0520 eastern standard time, a Eurocopter EC 135, N135LG, was substantially damaged following a hard landing near Beattyville, Kentucky. The pilot and two passengers were not injured. The helicopter departed from the Mt. Sterling base (IOB), Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, and was destined for St. Helens, Kentucky. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the emergency medical flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135.

According to the pilot, he was dispatched to an accident scene about 35 nautical miles from his base operations in Mt. Sterling. The pilot checked the weather and completed the risk assessment form. The forecast was for visual meteorological conditions and he departed for the scene sometime before 0500. He further stated that he climbed to 2,500 feet mean sea level and noted the winds to be from the south-west at 35 knots. He stated he was comfortable flying in these conditions, and had flown in these type winds several times before. Once he arrived at the landing zone, he was cautious of electrical wires that were next to the helipad, so he came over the wires at 100 feet to clear them and started to descend at a rate around 200 feet per minute. When he was just above the ground, he tried to increase collective but was unable to arrest the descent. He stated to the crew "this was going to be a hard landing". The helicopter bounced when it hit the ground and rolled over on the right side. The pilot told everyone to remain in the helicopter until the rotor stopped spinning to avoid injuries. After the rotor stopped spinning, all three occupants egressed the helicopter. The pilot stated there were no known mechanical deficiencies with the helicopter prior to the accident.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the helicopter came to rest on the right side. All four main rotor blades were destroyed during impact. All four main rotor pitch links were broken from impact as well as the rotating scissors. The tail boom was fractured at the horizontal stabilizer/fenestron mount. The tail rotor and vertical fin assembly were intact and the blades did not exhibit any damage. The upper left horizontal stabilizer vertical winglet exhibited impact damage from the main rotors. The pilot's windshield and skylight were broken out and the nose bow area was crushed.

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown

Hard landing (Defining event)

Dynamic rollover

 

 

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Airline Transport

Age:

67, Male

Airplane Rating(s):

Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land

Seat Occupied:

Right

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

Helicopter

Restraint Used:

 

Instrument Rating(s):

Airplane; Helicopter

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

None

Toxicology Performed:

No

Medical Certification:

Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

06/08/2016

Occupational Pilot:

Yes

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

04/29/2016

Flight Time:

12952 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1089 hours (Total, this make and model), 9908 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 25 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 9 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

 

 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

EUROCOPTER DEUTSCHLAND GMBH

Registration:

N135LG

Model/Series:

EC 135 P2+

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Year of Manufacture:

2008

Amateur Built:

No

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

0731

Landing Gear Type:

Ski;

Seats:

5

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

01/23/2017, AAIP

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

6415 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

2 Turbo Shaft

Airframe Total Time:

3665 Hours as of last inspection

Engine Manufacturer:

P&W CANADA

ELT:

C126 installed, not activated

Engine Model/Series:

PW206B

Registered Owner:

AIR METHODS CORP

Rated Power:

431 hp

Operator:

AIR METHODS CORP

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

Commuter Air Carrier (135)

 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual Conditions

Condition of Light:

Dawn

Observation Facility, Elevation:

JKL

Distance from Accident Site:

16 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

0453 EST

Direction from Accident Site:

90°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Unknown

Visibility

10 Miles

Lowest Ceiling:

Broken

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

6 knots /

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

/

Wind Direction:

Variable

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

/

Altimeter Setting:

29.82 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

14°C / 10°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

 

Departure Point:

MOUNT STERLING, KY (IOB)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

Company VFR

Destination:

St. Helens, KY

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

 

Type of Airspace:

Class G

 

 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 None

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Passenger Injuries:

2 None

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

3 None

Latitude, Longitude:

37.557778, -83.706111 (est)


Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Daniel P Boggs

Report Date:

02/11/2020

Additional Participating Persons:

Steven Travis; FAA/FSDO; Louisville, KY

Publish Date:

02/11/2020

Note:

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

Investigation Docket:

http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/dockList.cfm?mKey=94692





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