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NTSB Final Report: Dustin, OK

Location:

Dustin, Oklahoma

Accident Number:

CEN21LA173

Date & Time:

March 26, 2021, 15:15 Local

Registration:

N178DF

Aircraft:                             ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II

Aircraft Damage:          Substantial

Defining Event:                  Loss of control in flight                                          Injuries:                                          2 Serious, 2 Minor

Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Aerial observation

Analysis

The pilot of the helicopter stated that, while maneuvering “low and slow” with three passengers onboard, he noticed “insufficient power” and shortly thereafter, the low rotor rpm warning annunciated. He applied full throttle and attempted to regain rotor rpm but was unsuccessful. The pilot stated that he was forced to land immediately, during which the helicopter impacted a tree then terrain, resulting in substantial damage.

The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures of the helicopter and recommended operating “at a lower gross weight.” Postacccident examination of the helicopter revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

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

The pilot’s insufficient monitoring of the helicopter’s power while flying at low altitude and at low airspeed, which resulted in the loss of rotor rpm and impact with a tree and terrain.

Findings

Personnel issues Aircraft - Incorrect action performance - Pilot Airspeed - Not attained/maintained

Environmental issues - Tree(s) - Effect on equipment


Factual Information

On March 26, 2021, about 1515 central daylight time, a Robinson Helicopter Company R44 II, N178DF, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Dustin, Oklahoma. The private pilot and one passenger received serious injuries, and two passengers received minor injuries. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 aerial observation flight.

The pilot stated that while maneuvering “low and slow” with three passengers onboard, he noticed “insufficient power” and shortly thereafter, the low rotor rpm warning annunciated. He applied full throttle and attempted to regain rotor rpm but was unsuccessful. The pilot stated that he was forced to land the helicopter immediately, during which the helicopter impacted a tree then terrain, resulting in substantial damage that included damage to the main rotor, fuselage, and tailboom.

The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter, and recommended operating “at a lower gross weight.” Postacccident examination of the helicopter revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

History of Flight

Maneuvering-low-alt flying Uncontrolled descent - Loss of control in flight (Defining event) Attempted remediation/recovery

Landing - Collision during takeoff/land

 

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Private

Age:

59,Male

Airplane Rating(s):

Single-engine land

Seat Occupied:

Right

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

None

Restraint Used:

4-point

Instrument Rating(s):

Helicopter

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

None

Toxicology Performed:

 

Medical Certification:

Class 2 Without waivers/limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

March 26, 2021

Occupational Pilot:

No

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

June 3, 2020

Flight Time:

3687 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1447 hours (Total, this make and model), 3552 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 124 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 82 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY

Registration:

N178DF

Model/Series:

R44 II

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Year of Manufacture:

2007

Amateur Built:

 

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

11969

Landing Gear Type:

Skid

Seats:

4

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

January 18, 2021 Annual

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

2500 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

1 Reciprocating

Airframe Total Time:

2347 Hrs at time of accident

Engine Manufacturer:

Lycoming

ELT:

Installed, not activated

Engine Model/Series:

IO-540-AE1A5

Registered Owner:

 

Rated Power:

290

Operator:

 

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual (VMC)

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

OKM,720 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

90 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

15:15 Local

Direction from Accident Site:

270°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Clear

Visibility

10 miles

Lowest Ceiling:

None

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

14 knots / 21 knots

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

/

Wind Direction:

150°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

/

Altimeter Setting:

29.89 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

24°C / 7°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

 

Departure Point:

Henryetta, OK (F10)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

None

Destination:

Dustin, OK

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

13:30 Local

Type of Airspace:

Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 Serious

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Passenger Injuries:

1 Serious, 2 Minor

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

 

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

2 Serious, 2 Minor

Latitude, Longitude:

35.2707,-96.0308(est)

Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Gallo, Mitchell

Additional Participating Persons:

Renae Allmond; Federal Aviation Administration; Will Rogers Flight Standards District Office ; Oklahoma City, OK

Original Publish Date:

August 19, 2022                                                                 Investigation Class:                                                                 3

Note:

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

Investigation Docket:

https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket?ProjectID=102855

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Created 101 days ago
by Admin

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