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NTSB Final Report: Elberon, VA

Location:

Elberon, Virginia

Accident Number:

ERA23LA326

Date & Time:

August 5, 2023, 12:33 Local

Registration:

N353AH

Aircraft:

Hughes 369

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Defining Event:

Low altitude operation/event

Injuries:

2 Serious

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 133: Rotorcraft ext. load

 

 

Analysis

The purpose of the rotorcraft external load flight was to spray water from the helicopter and wash some outside insulators that were suspended from power line structure arms. During the wash, the crew heard a bang, and the helicopter descended into trees. A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the wreckage after the accident and observed substantial damage to the fuselage and rotor blades. The inspector also observed damage to the power line structure arm that was consistent with main rotor blade contact. The inspector did not find evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures of the helicopter, nor did the operator report any. Based on this information, it is likely that the helicopter’s main rotor struck the power line structure while the pilot was maneuvering in close proximity to it.

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 structure arm, which resulted in main rotor blade contact.

Findings

Personnel issues - Task monitoring/vigilance - Pilot

Aircraft - Main rotor blade system - Not specified

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering                                       Low altitude operation/event (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Commercial; Flight instructor; Private

Age:

55,Male

Airplane Rating(s):

Single-engine land

Seat Occupied:

Front

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

None

Restraint Used:

4-point

Instrument Rating(s):

Airplane; Helicopter

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

Helicopter

Toxicology Performed:

 

Medical Certification:

Class 2 Without waivers/limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

April 3, 2023

Occupational Pilot:

Yes

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

July 19, 2022

Flight Time:

7375 hours (Total, all aircraft), 3924 hours (Total, this make and model), 7130 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 146 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 74 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Other flight crew Information

Certificate:

Age:

 

Airplane Rating(s):

Seat Occupied:

None

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

Restraint Used:

 

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:

Hughes

Registration:

N353AH

Model/Series:

369 D

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Year of Manufacture:

1981

Amateur Built:

 

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

811079D

Landing Gear Type:

High skid

Seats:

3

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

April 18, 2023 Continuous airworthiness

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

3000 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

10 Hrs

Engines:

1 Turbo shaft

Airframe Total Time:

20507 Hrs at time of accident

Engine Manufacturer:

Rolls-Royce

ELT:

Not installed

Engine Model/Series:

250-C20B

Registered Owner:

TVPX AIRCRAFT SOLUTIONS INC TRUSTEE

Rated Power:

420 Horsepower

Operator:

HAVERFIELD INTERNATIONAL INC

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

Rotorcraft external load (133)

Operator Does Business As:

 

Operator Designator Code:

HXFL

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual (VMC)

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

AKQ,105 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

10 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

12:54 Local

Direction from Accident Site:

253°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Few / 2500 ft AGL

Visibility

10 miles

Lowest Ceiling:

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

/                                                     Turbulence Type

Forecast/Actual:

None / None

Wind Direction:

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

N/A / N/A

Altimeter Setting:

29.98 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

29°C / 22°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

 

Departure Point:

Wakefield, VA (AKQ)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

None

Destination:

Elberon, VA

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

12:09 Local

Type of Airspace:

Class G

 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

2 Serious

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Passenger Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

2 Serious

Latitude, Longitude:

37.031619,-76.808425

Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Gretz, Robert

Additional Participating Persons:

Nikolas Kubli; FAA/FSDO; Richmond, VA Nick Shepler; Rolls-Royce; Indanapolis, IN

 

Original Publish Date:

October 5, 2023                                                                           Investigation Class:

4

Note:

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

 

Investigation Docket:

https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket?ProjectID=192811

 

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 190 days ago
by Admin

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