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NTSB Final Report: Camp Verde, Arizona

Location:

Camp Verde, Arizona

Accident Number:

WPR21LA341

Date & Time:

August 27, 2021, 18:30 Local

Registration:

N544SH

Aircraft:

Robinson R44

Aircraft Damage:

Unknown

Defining Event:

Collision during takeoff/land

Injuries:

3 None

Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Public aircraft - local

Analysis

The pilot reported that, while taking off from a remote mountainous site, the helicopter encountered some turbulent air and the main rotor RPM decayed. He elected to abort the takeoff and land at a site about 20-30 ft from the original location. During the landing, the main rotor blades struck a tree. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to main rotor blades and main rotor hub assembly. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation. He also reported that the accident could have been avoided by taking more time to calculate and determine the density altitude and out of ground effect performance of the helicopter at the time of the accident.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's inadequate preflight performance calculations which resulted in an aborted takeoff and collision with trees.

Findings

Personnel issues Personnel issues Environmental issues Environmental issues

Environmental issues

Decision making/judgment - Pilot Performance calculations - Pilot

High density altitude - Effect on operation Mountainous/hilly terrain - Effect on equipment

Tree(s) - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown             Collision during takeoff/land (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Commercial

Age:

48,Male

Airplane Rating(s):

None

Seat Occupied:

Right

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

Helicopter

Restraint Used:

Unknown

Instrument Rating(s):

None

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

None

Toxicology Performed:

 

Medical Certification:

Class 2 Without waivers/limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

August 23, 2021

Occupational Pilot:

Yes

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

August 13, 2020

Flight Time:

971 hours (Total, all aircraft), 968 hours (Total, this make and model), 873 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 22 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 12 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Passenger Information

Certificate:

Age:

Male

Airplane Rating(s):

Seat Occupied:

Left

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

Restraint Used:

3-point

Instrument Rating(s):

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

Toxicology Performed:

 

Medical Certification:

Last FAA Medical Exam:

 

Occupational Pilot:

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

 

Flight Time:

Passenger Information

Certificate:

 

Age:

Female

Airplane Rating(s):

 

Seat Occupied:

Rear

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

 

Restraint Used:

3-point

Instrument Rating(s):

 

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

 

Toxicology Performed:

 

Medical Certification:

 

Last FAA Medical Exam:

 

Occupational Pilot:

UNK

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

 

Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

Robinson

Registration:

N544SH

Model/Series:

R44 II

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Year of Manufacture:

2005

Amateur Built:

 

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

10818

Landing Gear Type:

Skid

Seats:

4

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

August 9, 2021 Annual

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

2500 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

12.7 Hrs

Engines:

1 Reciprocating

Airframe Total Time:

3724.6 Hrs as of last inspection

Engine Manufacturer:

Lycoming

ELT:

C91A installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident

Engine Model/Series:

IO-540-AEIA5

Registered Owner:

 

Rated Power:

260 Horsepower

Operator:

 

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual (VMC)

Condition of Light:

Dusk

Observation Facility, Elevation:

KPRC

Distance from Accident Site:

38 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

18:30 Local

Direction from Accident Site:

126°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Clear

Visibility

10 miles

Lowest Ceiling:

None

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

/                                           Turbulence Type

Forecast/Actual:

None / None

Wind Direction:

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

N/A / N/A

Altimeter Setting:

29.75 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

20°C / 10°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

 

Departure Point:

Prescott, AZ (KPRC)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

None

Destination:

Prescott, AZ (KPRC)

Type of Clearance:

VFR

Departure Time:

18:30 Local

Type of Airspace:

Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 None

Aircraft Damage:

Unknown

Passenger Injuries:

2 None

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

 

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

3 None

Latitude, Longitude:

34.296111,-111.79194(est)

Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Bledsoe, James

 

Additional Participating Persons:

Drew Holmes; FSDO; Scottsdale, AZ

 

Original Publish Date:

February 18, 2022                                                             Investigation Class:

4

Note:

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

 

Investigation Docket:

https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket?ProjectID=103849