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NTSB Preliminary Report: Ozark, AL



Ozark, AL

Accident Number:


Date & Time:

05/30/2020, 1132 CDT




Schweizer 269C-1


1 Fatal

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional

On May 30, 2020, about 1132 central daylight time, a Schweizer 269C-1 helicopter, N9421P was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Ozark, Alabama. The student pilot was fatally injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

About 0900, on the day of the accident, the student pilot met his flight instructor at the flight school, which was located at a private heliport in Midland, Alabama. According to the student pilot's flight instructor, prior to the lesson, the flight instructor pushed the helicopter out of the hangar and did a preflight. Afterwards, the flight instructor and the student pilot did a final weather check and then the instructor waited on the student pilot while the student pilot also conducted a preflight.

When the student pilot was done with his preflight, they departed about 0906. They started off with confined area exercises including two steep approaches and two maximum performance takeoffs. Afterward, they came back to a grass field near the flight school and the flight instructor demonstrated one straight in autorotation, followed by the student pilot performing two straight in autorotations. Then they transitioned to another nearby field and they did two, 180° autorotations. They landed back at the flight school about 1035 after about 1.4 hours of flight time. The flight instructor performed a post flight walk around and they "topped it off with fuel."

The flight instructor then went into his office and waited for the student pilot to finish his preflight. Once he finished his preflight, they talked about his solo flight which would be a 1.1 hour long flight, staying in the local area and doing a couple normal approaches and takeoffs at Ozark-Blackwell Field Airport (71J), Ozark, Alabama that they used regularly for training. They also looked at the weather and then the student pilot took off about 1110.

Motion activated security cameras at 71J, next captured the helicopter doing takeoffs and landings on Runway 31 about 1115, and then at 1131. The helicopter was next observed by a witness over a tree line in a residential area about 1 mile off the departure end of Runway 31. According to the witness, the helicopter was "sputtering", then it was observed to turn back in the direction it had come from, the engine sounds ceased, and the helicopter dove rapidly and impacted the ground.

A preliminary examination of the accident site and helicopter by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that, there was no evidence of any fire or explosion and that the helicopter had impacted a 60 to 70 feet tall tree, prior to coming to rest. Tree limbs up to about 8 inches in diameter were broken and were found lying within, and on the wreckage.

A significant amount of oil was leaking from the engine. The main rotor blades displayed upward bending and chordwise wrinkling. The leading edges of the blades were predominantly undisturbed and the control rods to the main rotor hub had remained connected.

The tail boom had broken away from its mounting location and was found laying near the main wreckage. The tail rotor was still connected to the tail rotor gearbox and the tail rotor gearbox had remained attached to the tailboom, which displayed minimal damage.

The instrument panel was bent forward. The panel light switch was in the "OFF" position, the beacon and position light switches were in the "ON" position, and the battery and alternator switches were in the "ON" position.

The carburetor heat control lever was found to be about 1-inch travel from the "OFF" position stop, the fuel mixture control was in the "FULL RICH" position, the fuel shutoff control was in the off position (full in), and the magneto key switch was in the "BOTH" position.

The trim switch was in the "RIGHT" position, the clutch control switch guard was open, and the clutch control switch was in the "ENGAGE" position. The circuit breaker for the trim, and the circuit breaker for the clutch were both in. The fuel low warning caution light system was placarded as being inoperative.

The 35 gallon fuel tank was impact damaged, there was no evidence of residual fuel, and the fuel tank filler cap was found hanging by its chain. The carburetor was also found to be impact damaged, and its float bowl was found to be devoid of fuel. There was no odor of fuel, and no observed fuel blight (browning of vegetation), in the vicinity of the wreckage.

According to FAA and aircraft maintenance records, the helicopter was manufactured in 2000. The helicopter's most recent 50 hour inspection was completed on April 4, 2020. At the time of the inspection, the helicopter had accrued 5,387.4 total hours of operation, and the engine had accrued 1,720 hours of operation since major overhaul.

The student pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. He also held a remote pilot certificate with a rating for small unmanned aircraft system. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on February 15, 2019. He reported that he had accrued about 340 total hours of flight experience.

According to flight school records, the student pilot was training for a helicopter add-on and had accrued about 67.1 total hours of flight time through the flight school. According to the flight instructor, he had provided 26.3 hours of dual instruction to the student pilot, and the rest of the recorded dual instruction had been with a previous instructor. The flight instructor also advised that the student pilot had accrued 8.9 hours of solo flight time in helicopters while he was his flight instructor.

The wreckage was retained by the NTSB for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:






Aircraft Category:


Amateur Built:





Eagle Aviation Academy Llc

Operating Certificate(s) Held:



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual Conditions

Condition of Light:


Observation Facility, Elevation:

HEY, 318 ft msl

Observation Time:

1158 CDT

Distance from Accident Site:

5 Nautical Miles

Temperature/Dew Point:

30°C / 20°C

Lowest Cloud Condition:


Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction:

Calm / ,

Lowest Ceiling:

Broken / 4100 ft agl


10 Miles

Altimeter Setting:

30.02 inches Hg

Type of Flight Plan Filed:


Departure Point:

Ozark, AL (71J)


Midland City, AL (PVT)


Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 Fatal

Aircraft Damage:


Passenger Injuries:


Aircraft Fire:


Ground Injuries:


Aircraft Explosion:


Total Injuries:

1 Fatal

Latitude, Longitude:

31.441389, -85.638333 (est)


Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Todd G Gunther

Additional Participating Persons:

Peter D Rose; FAA / FSDO; Birmingham, AL

Craig Nielsen; Schweizer RSG LLC.; Fort Worth, TX

David Harsanyi; Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, PA


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

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Created 21 days ago
by jhadmin

Tags AL NTSB Report Ozark
Categories Press Releases

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