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NTSB Preliminary Report: Miami Beach, FL

Location:

Miami Beach, FL

Accident Number:

ERA22LA131

Date & Time:

February 19, 2022, 13:10 Local

Registration:

N544SB

Aircraft:

ROBINSON HELICOPTER R44

Injuries:

3 Serious

 

Flight Conducted Under: National Transportation Safety Board Aviation Accident Preliminary Report Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On February 19, 2022, at 1310 eastern standard time, a Robinson Helicopter R44, N544SB, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Miami Beach, Florida. The pilot and two passengers sustained serious injuries. The helicopter was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight.\

The pilot reported that he had departed a helipad in Marathon, Florida and was returning along the coastline to his base airport of North Perry Airport (HWO), Hollywood, Florida. As the flight path began paralleling the South Miami Beach area over water, a sudden violent shaking and vibration was experienced, which was followed by a loss of engine power and a low rotor RPM warning light and horn.

The pilot attempted to increase power at the initiation of the abnormal vibration, however, he realized the engine had lost power and initiated an autorotation. Subsequently, he maneuvered toward an area of shallow water between two groups of people and the helicopter impacted water about 10 seconds after the abnormal vibration began. The pilot assisted his passengers in evacuating the helicopter, and they received additional assistance from beachgoers to reach the beach.

The pilot recalled that he was flying about 420ft to 450ft above ground level about 85-95 knots when the vibration and loss of engine power occurred. Prior to the loss of power, the helicopter had been functioning normally without issue.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the helicopter at the accident site and recovery facility. The fuselage, tail boom, and tail rotor sustained substantial damage. One main rotor blade remained intact with little damage and the other had fractured about its mid- span. The helicopter contained fuel and oil. There were no obvious external abnormalities observed with the engine.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

ROBINSON HELICOPTER

Registration:

N544SB

Model/Series:

R44 NO SERIES

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Amateur Built:

Operator:

 

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

None

Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

VMC

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

MIA,29 ft msl

Observation Time:

13:53 Local

Distance from Accident Site:

10 Nautical Miles

Temperature/Dew Point:

29°C /21°C

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Scattered / 3000 ft AGL

Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction:

/ ,

Lowest Ceiling:

None

Visibility:

10 miles

Altimeter Setting:

30.12 inches Hg

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

None

Departure Point:

Marathon, FL (NONE)

Destination:

Hollywood, FL (HWO)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 Serious

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Passenger Injuries:

2 Serious

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

3 Serious

Latitude, Longitude:

25.77816,-80.126859

 

Investigator In Charge (IIC): Gerhardt, Adam

Administrative Information

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

Note:

Additional Participating Persons: