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NTSB Final Report: Merry, Nebraska

Location:

Merry, Nebraska

Accident Number:

CEN21LA348

Date & Time:

July 30, 2021, 12:00 Local

Registration:

N857TL

Aircraft:

ROBINSON HELICOPTER CO R66

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Defining Event:

Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Injuries:

1 Serious

Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural

Analysis

The pilot reported that while cresting a hill at the end of a field during an aerial application pass, the helicopter’s skids struck power lines and subsequently impacted terrain. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, tail boom, and rotors. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operations. The pilot reported that the aerial application pass was over rolling hills with terrain elevation changes of about 300 ft. and that could not see the end of the field where the power lines were because of the hill. When he crested the hill and saw the powerlines at eye-level, he attempted to climb over the power lines, but the skids struck the top static wire.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from a wire during a low-level aerial application flight.

Findings

Aircraft Personnel issues

Environmental issues

Altitude - Not attained/maintained Task monitoring/vigilance - Pilot

Wire - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-low-alt flying           Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT) (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Airline transport; Commercial

Age:

31,Male

Airplane Rating(s):

Single-engine land

Seat Occupied:

Right

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

Helicopter

Restraint Used:

3-point

Instrument Rating(s):

Airplane; Helicopter

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

Helicopter

Toxicology Performed:

 

Medical Certification:

Class 2 Without waivers/limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

August 26, 2020

Occupational Pilot:

Yes

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

 

Flight Time:

3360 hours (Total, all aircraft), 250 hours (Total, this make and model)

 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

ROBINSON HELICOPTER CO

Registration:

N857TL

Model/Series:

R66

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Year of Manufacture:

2015

Amateur Built:

 

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

0601

Landing Gear Type:

Skid

Seats:

5

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

Unknown

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

2700 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

1 Turbo shaft

Airframe Total Time:

 

Engine Manufacturer:

Rolls Royce

ELT:

 

Engine Model/Series:

RR3300

Registered Owner:

 

Rated Power:

270 Horsepower

Operator:

 

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual (VMC)

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

KAIA,3929 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

41 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

10:53 Local

Direction from Accident Site:

286°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Clear

Visibility

0.25 miles

Lowest Ceiling:

None

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

14 knots /

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

/

Wind Direction:

360°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

/

Altimeter Setting:

30.19 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

27°C / 17°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

Moderate - None - Haze

 

 

Departure Point:

 

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

None

Destination:

 

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

 

Type of Airspace:

Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 Serious

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Passenger Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

 

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

1 Serious

Latitude, Longitude:

42.22387,-96.5997(est)

Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Brannen, John

 

Additional Participating Persons:

Jeremy Kraemer; FAA - LNK FSDO; Lincoln, NE

 

Original Publish Date:

February 8, 2022                                                               Investigation Class:

4

Note:

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

 

Investigation Docket:

https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket?ProjectID=103606