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NTSB Final Report: Palm Beach, Florida

Location:

Palm Beach, Florida

Accident Number:

ERA22LA231

Date & Time:

May 19, 2022, 12:10 Local

Registration:

N448JM

Aircraft:

Eurocopter AS355

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Defining Event:

Part(s) separation from AC

Injuries:

1 None

Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Analysis

The pilot picked up the helicopter from a repair facility and while flying home heard a “boom,” felt a vibration in the tail, and performed a precautionary landing to a beach. Postaccident examination of the helicopter revealed that the engine cowling had become unlatched and was subsequently struck by a main rotor blade. The detached cowling then struck the horizontal stabilizer and tail rotor, which resulted in substantial damage. The pilot reported that he did not confirm that the engine cowling latch was properly secured during his preflight inspection. He reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures of the helicopter before the cowling opened and detached.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection, which resulted in the unlatched engine cowling opening and being struck by a main rotor blade during flight. Contributing to the accident was the mechanic’s failure to properly secure the cowling following maintenance.

Findings

Personnel issues - Post maintenance inspection - Pilot
Personnel issues - Preflight inspection - Pilot
Aircraft Personnel issues - Service doors - Inadequate inspection
Personnel issues -  (general) - Maintenance personnel
Personnel issues -  Post maintenance inspection - Maintenance personnel


Factual Information

History of Flight

Prior to flight - Aircraft inspection event

Enroute - Part(s) separation from AC (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Private

Age:

48,Male

Airplane Rating(s):

Single-engine land; Multi-engine land

Seat Occupied:

Right

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

Helicopter

Restraint Used:

4-point

Instrument Rating(s):

Airplane

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

None

Toxicology Performed:

 

Medical Certification:

Class 2 Without waivers/limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

August 18, 2021

Occupational Pilot:

No

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

February 1, 2022

Flight Time:

2707 hours (Total, all aircraft), 212 hours (Total, this make and model), 2292 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 90 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 42 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

 Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

Eurocopter

Registration:

N448JM

Model/Series:

AS355 N

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Year of Manufacture:

1997

Amateur Built:

 

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

5627

Landing Gear Type:

Skid

Seats:

6

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

May 19, 2022 Unknown

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

5732 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

2 Turbo shaft

Airframe Total Time:

3547.2 Hrs as of last inspection

Engine Manufacturer:

Eurocopter

ELT:

Installed

Engine Model/Series:

Turbomeca Arrius 1A

Registered Owner:

 

Rated Power:

479 Horsepower

Operator:

On file

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual (VMC)

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

BCT,13 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

5 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

11:53 Local

Direction from Accident Site:

212°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Scattered / 5000 ft AGL

Visibility

10 miles

Lowest Ceiling:

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

6 knots /

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

Unknown / Unknown

Wind Direction:

120°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

N/A / N/A

Altimeter Setting:

30.03 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

32°C / 23°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

 

Departure Point:

West Palm Beach, FL (PBI)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

None

Destination:

North Perry, FL (HWO)

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

12:00 Local

Type of Airspace:

Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 None

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Passenger Injuries:

 

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

1 None

Latitude, Longitude:

26.448361,-80.058922

Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Spencer, Lynn

 

Additional Participating Persons:

Rick Beckstrom; FAA; Miramar, FL

 

Original Publish Date:

July 20, 2022                                                                    Investigation Class:

4

Note:

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

 

Investigation Docket:

https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket?ProjectID=105102

 

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