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NTSB Final Report: Bentley, IL

 

Location:

Bentley, IL

Accident Number:

CEN18LA260

Date & Time:

07/06/20181715 CDT

Registration:

N224KM

Aircraft:

Bell 206

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Defining Event:

Fuel starvation

Injuries:

1 None

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 137: Agricultural

Analysis

The commercial helicopter pilot indicated that, about 10 minutes after takeoff, while making a turn during an aerial application flight, he noticed the low fuel pressure light illuminate; the fuel pressure gage indicated 0 psi, and the fuel quantity gage indicated 15 gallons. The engine subsequently lost total power, and the pilot performed an autorotation in preparation for a forced landing, during which the helicopter nosed over and sustained damage to the main and tail rotors.

Postaccident examination of the helicopter revealed that the fuel quantity gage read 4 gallons, and the fuel tank contained about 9.5 gallons of fuel. Both fuel boost pumps tested normally. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

The helicopter's flight manual stated to land as soon as practical when fuel quantity was less than 20 gallons and contained a warning that uncoordinated turns and maneuvers were to be avoided with a fuel quantity of less than 20 gallons. The manual also stated that, due to possible fuel sloshing in unusual attitudes or out-of-trim conditions and one or both fuel boost pumps inoperative, the unusable fuel was 10 gallons.

The turn during spray operations with less than 20 gallons of fuel likely caused the fuel to unport, allowing air into the fuel line. This resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation. The pilot did not ensure that adequate fuel was on board for the maneuvering flight.

Probable Cause and Findings

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

The pilot's failure to ensure that adequate fuel was on board for the maneuvering flight, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.

Findings

Aircraft

Fuel system - Incorrect use/operation (Cause)

Fuel - Fluid level (Cause)

Personnel issues

Decision making/judgment - Pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

On July 6, 2018, about 1715 central daylight time, a Bell 206B helicopter, N224KM, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Bentley, Illinois. The pilot was not injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Woodley Aerial Leasing LLC under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 as an aerial application flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which departed about 1705 from a load truck near Bentley, Illinois.

According to the pilot, he departed the load truck and flew about 1.5 miles east to an application area. While making a turn, he noticed the low fuel pressure light illuminate. After initiating a climb, he noticed the fuel quantity gage indicated 15 gallons and the fuel pressure gage indicated zero psi. The pilot initiated an autorotation in preparation for a forced landing. During touchdown, the helicopter nosed over, which damaged the main and tail rotors.

Examination of the helicopter revealed the fuel quantity gage read about 4 gallons. About 1.5 quarts of fuel were drained from the airframe and filter sumps, with no anomalies observed. The fuel valve switch was found in the on position. The forward and aft fuel boost pumps were tested individually, with normal pressures observed. The fuel tank was drained, revealing that about 9.5 gallons of total fuel were present in the tank. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal flight operations.

The helicopter's flight manual stated to land as soon as practical when fuel quantity was less than 20 gallons. The flight manual contained a warning that uncoordinated turns and maneuvers were to be avoided with a fuel quantity of less than 20 gallons and also stated that due to possible fuel sloshing in unusual attitudes or out of trim conditions and one or both fuel boost pumps inoperative, unusable fuel was 10 gallons.

History of Flight

Maneuvering-low-alt flying

Fuel starvation (Defining event)

Autorotation

Hard landing

 

 

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Flight Instructor; Commercial

Age:

31, 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:

01/10/2018

Occupational Pilot:

Yes

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

11/05/2017

Flight Time:

3286 hours (Total, all aircraft), 977 hours (Total, this make and model), 3126 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 160 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 80 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

 

 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

Bell

Registration:

N224KM

Model/Series:

206 B

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Year of Manufacture:

1974

Amateur Built:

No

Airworthiness Certificate:

Restricted

Serial Number:

1124

Landing Gear Type:

Skid

Seats:

5

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

10/01/2017, Annual

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

3200 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

1 Turbo Shaft

Airframe Total Time:

10389 Hours at time of accident

Engine Manufacturer:

Allison

ELT:

Not installed

Engine Model/Series:

250-C20

Registered Owner:

On file

Rated Power:

400 hp

Operator:

On file

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

Agricultural Aircraft (137)

 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual Conditions

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

KEOK, 671 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

14 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

1715 CDT

Direction from Accident Site:

305°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Few / 4000 ft agl

Visibility

10 Miles

Lowest Ceiling:

 

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

7 knots / 12 knots

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

None / None

Wind Direction:

60°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

N/A / N/A

Altimeter Setting:

30.3 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

28°C / 18°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

Departure Point:

Bentley, IL

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

None

Destination:

Bentley, IL

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

1705 CDT

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:

40.330000, -91.180000 (est)

 


Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Michael J Folkerts

Report Date:

04/20/2020

Additional Participating Persons:

Stanley Swank; Flight Standards District Office; Springfield, IL

Publish Date:

04/20/2020

Note:

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

Investigation Docket:

http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/dockList.cfm?mKey=97707





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