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NTSB Final Report: Skwentna, AK

Location:

Skwentna, Alaska

Accident Number:

ANC23LA032

Date & Time:

May 9, 2023, 12:00 Local

Registration:

N704T

Aircraft:

ROBINSON HELICOPTER R44 II

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Defining Event:

Other weather encounter

Injuries:

2 Minor, 1 None

Flight Conducted Under:       Part 135: Air taxi & commuter - Non-scheduled

Analysis

The pilot reported that, he was flying uphill over an area of snow-covered, mountainous terrain, when he encountered flat light and whiteout conditions, which made it difficult to discern topographical features. In an attempt to maintain visual reference with the ground, he turned the helicopter to the right to fly back down the hill. Subsequently, the right landing gear skid contacted terrain and the helicopter entered a dynamic rollover to the right, resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage, tail boom, and powertrain system. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or 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 failure to maintain adequate altitude/clearance from terrain while maneuvering in adverse weather conditions, which resulted in a dynamic rollover.

Findings

Environmental issues - Whiteout - Effect on operation

Personnel issues - Identification/recognition - Pilot

Personnel issues - Decision making/judgment - Pilot

Environmental issues - Snow - Decision related to condition


Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering - Other weather encounter (Defining event)

Maneuvering - Loss of visual reference

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Commercial

Age:

45,Male

Airplane Rating(s):

Single-engine land; Single-engine sea; Multi-engine land

Seat Occupied:

Front

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

Helicopter

Restraint Used:

3-point

Instrument Rating(s):

Airplane

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

None

Toxicology Performed:

 

Medical Certification:

Class 2 With waivers/limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

November 16, 2022

Occupational Pilot:

Yes

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

April 19, 2023

Flight Time:

10570 hours (Total, all aircraft), 398 hours (Total, this make and model)

 

Passenger Information

Certificate:

Age:

 

Airplane Rating(s):

Seat Occupied:

Left

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

Restraint Used:

3-point

Instrument Rating(s):

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

Toxicology Performed:

 

Medical Certification:

Last FAA Medical Exam:

 

Occupational Pilot:

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

 

Flight Time:

Passenger Information

Certificate:

Age:

 

Airplane Rating(s):

Seat Occupied:

Rear

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

Restraint Used:

3-point

Instrument Rating(s):

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

Toxicology Performed:

 

Medical Certification:

Last FAA Medical Exam:

 

Occupational Pilot:

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

 

Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

ROBINSON HELICOPTER

Registration:

N704T

Model/Series:

R44 II

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Year of Manufacture:

2004

Amateur Built:

 

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

10343

Landing Gear Type:

None; Skid

Seats:

4

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

December 22, 2022 Annual

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

2500 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

1 Reciprocating

Airframe Total Time:

3191.4 Hrs as of last inspection

Engine Manufacturer:

LYCOMING

ELT:

C126 installed, not activated

Engine Model/Series:

IO-540-AE1A5

Registered Owner:

 

Rated Power:

260 Horsepower

Operator:

 

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

On-demand air taxi (135)

Operator Does Business As:

Remote Alaska Air

Operator Designator Code:

EMVC

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Unknown

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

PAWS,354 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

64 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

11:56 Local

Direction from Accident Site:

100°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Clear

Visibility

10 miles

Lowest Ceiling:

None

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

9 knots / 18 knots

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

None / None

Wind Direction:

130°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

N/A / N/A

Altimeter Setting:

29.82 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

9°C / -2°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

 

Departure Point:

Skwentna, AK (SKW)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

Company VFR

Destination:

Skwentna, AK

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

10:00 Local

Type of Airspace:

Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 Minor

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Passenger Injuries:

1 Minor, 1 None

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

 

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

2 Minor, 1 None

Latitude, Longitude:

61.774586,-151.7413

Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Ward, Mark

 

Additional Participating Persons:

Paula Huckleberry; FAA; Anchorage, AK

 

Original Publish Date:

July 7, 2023                                                                               Investigation Class:

4

Note:

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

 

Investigation Docket:

https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket?ProjectID=139291

 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), established in 1967, is an independent federal agency mandated by Congress through the Independent Safety Board Act of 1974 to investigate transportation accidents, determine the probable causes of the accidents, issue safety recommendations, study transportation safety issues, and evaluate the safety effectiveness of government agencies involved in transportation. The NTSB makes public its actions and decisions through accident reports, safety studies, special investigation reports, safety recommendations, and statistical reviews.

The Independent Safety Board Act, as codified at 49 U.S.C. Section 1154(b), precludes the admission into evidence or use of any part of an NTSB report related to an incident or accident in a civil action for damages resulting from a matter mentioned in the report. A factual report that may be admissible under 49 U.S.C. § 1154(b) is available here.

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Created 149 days ago
by Admin

Tags AK NTSB Report SKWENTNA
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