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NTSB Final Report: Palmer, AK

Location:                            Palmer, Alaska                                          Accident Number:                                          ANC22LA001

Date & Time:                     October 10, 2021, 13:20 Local                          Registration:                                          N555EL (A1);FA3P4CAK37 (A2)

Aircraft:                             ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II (A1); DJI AIR IIS (A2)

Aircraft Damage:          Substantial (A1); Destroyed (A2)

Defining Event:                  Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)                          Injuries:                                          4 None (A1); 1 None (A2)
 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air taxi & commuter - Non-scheduled - Sightseeing (A1); Part 107: Small UAS (A2)

Analysis

The pilot of the helicopter reported that, while conducting an air tour flight he made about a 90° right turn near a scenic area, when he heard a faint “ting” sound. He stated that there was no indication of a mechanical failure or malfunction and the helicopter continued to operate normally, so he continued the flight. After shutdown he noticed damage to one of the main rotor blades and concluded that the helicopter had collided with an uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV). The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the main rotor blade.

The pilot of the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) reported that while flying his UAV near a scenic area a red helicopter suddenly appeared and collided with the UAV.

14 CFR Part 107.37 Operations near aircraft, right of way rules, states in part:

  1. Each small unmanned aircraft must yield the right of way to all aircraft, airborne vehicles, and launch and reentry vehicles. Yielding the right of way means that the small unmanned aircraft must give way to the aircraft or vehicle and may not pass over, under, or ahead of it unless well clear.
  2. No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft so close to another aircraft as to create a collision hazard.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The unmanned aircraft pilot’s failure to yield the right of way to the helicopter.

Findings

Personnel issues (A1) -  Monitoring other aircraft - Pilot of other aircraft

Personnel issues (A2) - Monitoring other aircraft - Pilot


Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-low-alt flying (A1) - Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT) (Defining event)

Pilot Information (A1)

Certificate:

Commercial; Flight instructor

Age:

29,Male

Airplane Rating(s):

None

Seat Occupied:

Right

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

Helicopter

Restraint Used:

5-point

Instrument Rating(s):

Helicopter

Second Pilot Present:

 

Instructor Rating(s):

Helicopter; Instrument helicopter

Toxicology Performed:

 

Medical Certification:

Class 1 Without waivers/limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

January 7, 2021

Occupational Pilot:

Yes

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

June 7, 2021

Flight Time:

1252 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1020 hours (Total, this make and model), 1188 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 106 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 21 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Pilot Information (A2)

Certificate:

None

Age:

50

Airplane Rating(s):

None

Seat Occupied:

None

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

None

Restraint Used:

 

Instrument Rating(s):

None

Second Pilot Present:

 

Instructor Rating(s):

None

Toxicology Performed:

 

Medical Certification:

Unknown

Last FAA Medical Exam:

 

Occupational Pilot:

No

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

 

Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information (A1)

Aircraft Make:

ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY

Registration:

N555EL

Model/Series:

R44 II

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Year of Manufacture:

2005

Amateur Built:

 

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

10665

Landing Gear Type:

High skid

Seats:

4

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

October 6, 2021 100 hour

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

2500 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

1 Reciprocating

Airframe Total Time:

3760.4 Hrs at time of accident

Engine Manufacturer:

LYCOMING

ELT:

C126 installed, not activated

Engine Model/Series:

IO-540-AE1A5

Registered Owner:

 

Rated Power:

245 Horsepower

Operator:

 

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

Rotorcraft external load (133), Commuter air

carrier (135), Agricultural

aircraft (137)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information (A2)

Aircraft Make:

DJI

Registration:

FA3P4CAK37

Model/Series:

AIR IIS

Aircraft Category:

Unknown

Year of Manufacture:

 

Amateur Built:

 

Airworthiness Certificate:

None

Serial Number:

3YTSJ4T0030A8A

Landing Gear Type:

None

Seats:

 

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

Unknown

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

 

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

 

Airframe Total Time:

 

Engine Manufacturer:

 

ELT:

Not installed

Engine Model/Series:

 

Registered Owner:

 

Rated Power:

 

Operator:

 

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

None

 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual (VMC)

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

PAAQ,230 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

18 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

00:53 Local

Direction from Accident Site:

310°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

 

Visibility

7 miles

Lowest Ceiling:

Overcast / 2500 ft AGL

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

3 knots /

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

/

Wind Direction:

70°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

/

Altimeter Setting:

29.69 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

4°C / 3°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

Light - None - Rain

 

 

Departure Point:

Palmer, AK (A1); Palmer, AK (A2)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

Company VFR (A1); None (A2)

Destination:

Palmer, AK (A1); Palmer, AK (A2)

Type of Clearance:

None (A1); None (A2)

Departure Time:

 

Type of Airspace:

Class G (A1); Class G (A2)

Wreckage and Impact Information (A1)

Crew Injuries:

1 None

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Passenger Injuries:

3 None

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

 

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

4 None

Latitude, Longitude:

61.40406,-148.60457(est)

Wreckage and Impact Information (A2)

Crew Injuries:

1 None

Aircraft Damage:

Destroyed

Passenger Injuries:

 

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

 

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

1 None

Latitude, Longitude:

61.40406,-148.60457(est)

 

Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Banning, David

 

Additional Participating Persons:

Patrick Teagarden; FAA; Anchorage, AK

 

Original Publish Date:

August 12, 2022                                                                 Investigation Class:

4

Note:

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

 

Investigation Docket:

https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket?ProjectID=104098

 

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Created 55 days ago
by Admin

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