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NTSB Final Report: Ulysses, KS

Location:

Ulysses, Kansas

Accident Number:

CEN21LA225

Date & Time:

May 18, 2021, 14:30 Local

Registration:

N176SJ

Aircraft:

Bell OH58A

Aircraft Damage:

Destroyed

Defining Event:

Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Injuries:

1 Fatal

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 137: Agricultural

 

 

Analysis

The pilot was performing aerial application operations when the helicopter collided with a power line and subsequently impacted terrain. The pilot was fatally injured. The accident occurred during the pilot’s 21st pass over the field that day, and the pilot had been maneuvering to avoid the wire numerous times prior to the accident. Examination of the helicopter revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. The circumstances of the accident are consistent with the pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from the power line during the aerial application flight.

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 power line during the aerial application flight, which resulted in collision with the power line and subsequent impact with terrain.

Findings

Environmental issues - Wire - Effect on equipment

Personnel issues - Identification/recognition - Pilot


Factual Information

History of Flight

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

On May 18, 2021, about 1430 central daylight time, a Bell OH-58A helicopter, N176SJ, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Ulysses, Kansas. The pilot was fatally injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight.

The helicopter impacted a powerline while the pilot was applying chemicals to a field. The operator reported that the accident pass was the pilot’s 21st pass over the field, and that the pilot had been maneuvering over the powerline during the previous passes. The loader who was at the scene reported that the helicopter passed the wires, and he heard two loud pops. The helicopter collided with terrain about 60° nose-low, and the loader called emergency services.

 Pilot Information

Certificate:

Commercial; Flight instructor                Age:

47,Male

Airplane Rating(s):

None                                                          Seat Occupied:

Right

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

Helicopter                                                  Restraint Used:

4-point

Instrument Rating(s):

Helicopter                                                  Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

Helicopter                                                  Toxicology Performed:

Yes

Medical Certification:

Class 2 Without waivers/limitations     Last FAA Medical Exam:

July 21, 2020

Occupational Pilot:

Yes                                                              Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

October 21, 2020

Flight Time:

(Estimated) 4500 hours (Total, all aircraft)

 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

Bell

Registration:

N176SJ

Model/Series:

OH58A NO SERIES

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Year of Manufacture:

1970

Amateur Built:

 

Airworthiness Certificate:

Restricted (Special)

Serial Number:

70-15556

Landing Gear Type:

High skid

Seats:

4

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

March 11, 2021 100 hour

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

 

Time Since Last Inspection:

8382.7 Hrs

Engines:

1 Turbo shaft

Airframe Total Time:

as of last inspection

Engine Manufacturer:

Rolls-Royce

ELT:

Not installed

Engine Model/Series:

250-C20C

Registered Owner:

 

Rated Power:

425 Horsepower

Operator:

 

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

Agricultural aircraft (137)

Operator Does Business As:

TRI-ROTOR CROP SERVICES LLC

Operator Designator Code:

 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual (VMC)

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

KGCK,2882 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

38 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

13:54 Local

Direction from Accident Site:

54°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Scattered / 10000 ft AGL

Visibility

10 miles

Lowest Ceiling:

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

9 knots / 17 knots

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

/

Wind Direction:

130°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

/

Altimeter Setting:

29.93 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

19°C / 13°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

 

Departure Point:

Ulysses, KS

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

None

Destination:

Ulysses, KS

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

Type of Airspace:

Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 Fatal

Aircraft Damage:

Destroyed

Passenger Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

1 Fatal

Latitude, Longitude:

37.565617,-101.37033(est)

The helicopter impacted a field and came to rest on its side about 150 yards from the power lines. All major components of the helicopter were located at the accident site. The forward cockpit area was crushed and distorted. Both main rotor blades were damaged and remained attached to the main rotor hub. The main rotor hub was impact separated from the transmission. Flight control continuity was established throughout the helicopter through areas that were fractured with signatures consistent with overload. A portion of the power line was found on the ground between the wire strike location and the wreckage. The helicopter was equipped with wire cutters, but they did not display signatures of damage or wire contact.

Medical and Pathological Information

The pilot succumbed to his injuries in the hospital 2 days after the accident. The Kearny County, Kansas, coroner issued a certificate of death and listed the cause of death as massive blunt trauma (to) head, torso, and extremities. Toxicology testing on the pilot’s hospital admission blood was positive for norketamine (metabolite of anesthetic ketamine), famotidine (antacid), and ondansetron (antinausea medication). These medications were likely given to the pilot during postaccident medical treatment.

Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Aguilera, Jason

Additional Participating Persons:

Michael LeBlanc; FAA FSDO; Wichita, KS

 

Original Publish Date:

December 6, 2022                                                 Investigation Class:

3

Note:

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

 

Investigation Docket:

https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket?ProjectID=103107

 





Created 63 days ago
by Admin

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