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NTSB Final Report: Nuiqsut, AK

 

Location:

Nuiqsut, AK

Accident Number:

GAA19CA531

Date & Time:

09/06/2019, 1350 AKD

Registration:

N447PA

Aircraft:

Robinson R44

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Defining Event:

Prop/jet/rotor blast/suction

Injuries:

1 None

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 133: Rotorcraft Ext. Load


Analysis

The pilot reported that he landed the helicopter facing south and about 90 ft from where ground personnel were unhooking super sacks filled with gravel. When the skids touched down, the pilot reduced the collective and then saw an empty super sack about 15 ft away, which subsequently struck the main rotor toward the outboard portion of the blade. The super sack was ingested by the advancing side of the main rotor disk. The pilot rolled off the throttle and shut down the engine. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the main rotor blades. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's improper decision to land downwind from unsecured debris, which resulted in the helicopter's main rotor disk ingesting foreign objects.


Findings

Personnel issues

Decision making/judgment - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues

Debris/dirt/foreign object - Effect on operation (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

After landing

Prop/jet/rotor blast/suction (Defining event)

 

 

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Flight Instructor; Commercial

Age:

32, Male

Airplane Rating(s):

None

Seat Occupied:

Right

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

Helicopter

Restraint Used:

 

Instrument Rating(s):

Helicopter

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

Helicopter

Toxicology Performed:

No

Medical Certification:

Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

04/05/2019

Occupational Pilot:

Yes

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

05/14/2019

Flight Time:

(Estimated) 2215 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1780 hours (Total, this make and model), 2149 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 102 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 68 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

 

 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

Robinson

Registration:

N447PA

Model/Series:

R44 II

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Year of Manufacture:

2006

Amateur Built:

No

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

11197

Landing Gear Type:

Skid;

Seats:

4

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

08/30/2019, 100 Hour

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

2500 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

1 Reciprocating

Airframe Total Time:

4038.8 Hours at time of accident

Engine Manufacturer:

Lycoming

ELT:

C126 installed, not activated

Engine Model/Series:

IO-540-AE1A5

Registered Owner:

Pollux Aviation Ltd

Rated Power:

260 hp

Operator:

Pollux Aviation Ltd

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

Agricultural Aircraft (137); Commuter Air Carrier (135); Rotorcraft External Load (133)

Operator Does Business As:

 

Operator Designator Code:

UPXL

 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual Conditions

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

PAUN, 20 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

0 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

2155 UTC

Direction from Accident Site:

184°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Clear

Visibility

10 Miles

Lowest Ceiling:

None

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

7 knots /

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

/

Wind Direction:

220°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

/

Altimeter Setting:

30.09 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

32°C / 6°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

Departure Point:

Deadhorse, AK (PASC)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

None

Destination:

Deadhorse, AK (PASC)

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

0900 AKD

Type of Airspace:

Class G

 

Airport Information

Airport:

Nuiqsut (AQT)

Runway Surface Type:

Grass/turf; Gravel

Airport Elevation:

45 ft

Runway Surface Condition:

Dry; Soft; Vegetation

Runway Used:

N/A

IFR Approach:

None

Runway Length/Width:

 

VFR Approach/Landing:

Full Stop

 

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:

63.888611, -160.799167 (est)

 

Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Michael A Hicks

Report Date:

03/17/2020

Additional Participating Persons:

 

Publish Date:

03/17/2020

Note:

This accident report documents the factual circumstances of this accident as described to the NTSB.

Investigation Docket:

http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/dockList.cfm?mKey=100220





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