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NTSB Final Report: Philadelphia, PA

 

Location:

Philadelphia, PA

Accident Number:

ERA20CA135

Date & Time:

03/21/2020, 1542 EDT

Registration:

N982SS

Aircraft:

AugustaWestland AW119MKII

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Defining Event:

Part(s) separation from AC

Injuries:

2 None

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 91: General Aviation - Flight Test


Analysis

The pilot and the flight test engineer were completing a production test flight of the helicopter. A review of a surveillance video showed that, as they were preparing to land, the lower section of the left side of the engine cowling folded back and struck all four main rotor blades, which resulted in substantial damage to the blades. According to the operator/manufacturer, postaccident examination of the helicopter revealed that none of the fasteners on the left side of the cowling remained attached and that three of the fasteners were missing. No evidence of any preaccident discrepancies with the fasteners, the cowling, or the design and conformity of the helicopter structure was found.

According to the manufacturer/operator, before the flight, the pilot reported to maintenance personnel that he had seen that the fasteners attaching the generator duct to the right side of the same cowling appeared long. Maintenance personnel then removed the one-piece engine cowling, and a mechanic then replaced the generator duct fasteners and reinstalled the cowling with the help of another mechanic. The mechanic said he specifically fastened each of the fasteners on the cowling himself and checked all the fasteners after the cowling was reinstalled. Once the cowling was reinstalled, a quality inspector visually inspected the engine cowling fasteners. He did not see any anomalies and signed off that the work had been completed. The flight test engineer performed another preflight inspection of the helicopter and did not note any issues with any of the cowling fasteners. It is likely that the mechanic did not properly install the cowling fasteners before the flight, which resulted in the cowling coming loose and striking the main rotor blades.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The in-flight failure of the lower left side of the engine cowling due to the mechanic's improper installation of the fasteners, which resulted in the cowling impacting all four main rotor blades.

Findings

Aircraft

Fasteners - Incorrect service/maintenance (Cause)

Engine (turbine/turboprop) - Failure (Cause)

Personnel issues

Installation - Maintenance personnel (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Prior to flight

Aircraft maintenance event

Approach

Part(s) separation from AC (Defining event)

 

 

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Airline Transport; Commercial; Private

Age:

53, Male

Airplane Rating(s):

Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land

Seat Occupied:

Right

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

Helicopter

Restraint Used:

 

Instrument Rating(s):

Helicopter

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Helicopter; Instrument Airplane; Instrument Helicopter

Toxicology Performed:

No

Medical Certification:

Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

10/10/2019

Occupational Pilot:

Yes

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

02/11/2020

Flight Time:

4629 hours (Total, all aircraft), 902 hours (Total, this make and model), 2337 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 33 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

AugustaWestland

Registration:

N982SS

Model/Series:

AW119MKII

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Year of Manufacture:

2020

Amateur Built:

No

Airworthiness Certificate:

Special Flight

Serial Number:

14962

Landing Gear Type:

Skid

Seats:

8

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

 

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

6283 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

1 Turbo Shaft

Airframe Total Time:

6.1 Hours at time of accident

Engine Manufacturer:

Pratt&Whitney

ELT:

Installed, not activated

Engine Model/Series:

PT6B-37A

Registered Owner:

On file

Rated Power:

900 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:

PNE, 120 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

0 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

1554 EDT

Direction from Accident Site:

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Clear

Visibility

10 Miles

Lowest Ceiling:

None

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

4 knots / 16 knots

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

None / None

Wind Direction:

Variable

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

N/A / N/A

Altimeter Setting:

30.01 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

13°C / -4°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

Departure Point:

Philadelphia, PA (PNE)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

VFR

Destination:

Philadelphia, PA (PNE)

Type of Clearance:

VFR

Departure Time:

1450 EDT

Type of Airspace:

Class D

 

Airport Information

Airport:

Northeast Philadelphia (PNE)

Runway Surface Type:

Concrete

Airport Elevation:

120 ft

Runway Surface Condition:

Dry

Runway Used:

N/A

IFR Approach:

None

Runway Length/Width:

 

VFR Approach/Landing:

Full Stop

 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

2 None

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Passenger Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

2 None

Latitude, Longitude:

40.083333, -75.001389 (est)

 

Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Leah D Read

Report Date:

06/29/2020

Additional Participating Persons:

Roberto Possumato; FAA/FSDO; Philadelphia, PA

Mikael Amura; ANSV

Giorgio Dossena; Leonardo S.p.a

Christopher Lemieux; Agustawestland Philadelphia Corporation; Philadelphia, PA

Publish Date:

06/29/2020

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=101114





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