Saturday, February 8, 2014

Robinson R44 Raven, II N571AC, Tallahassee Helicopters: Accident occurred February 08, 2014 in Panacea, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA115 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, February 08, 2014 in Panacea, FL
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II, registration: N571AC
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On February 8, 2014, about 1945 eastern standard time, a Robinson R-44 II, N571AC, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain after takeoff from Wakulla County Airport (2J0), Panacea, Florida. The private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured, and another passenger sustained serious injuries. The helicopter was registered to Capital Helicopters, LLC, and was operated by a private individual. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which was destined for Tallahassee Regional Airport (TLH), Tallahassee, Florida. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The helicopter had landed at 2J0 earlier in the day with the pilot and two passengers onboard. After eating at a local restaurant the pilot and passengers were transported back to the airport, where they arrived at approximately 1930 for their return flight to TLH. According to the surviving passenger, the pilot stated they would have to "back up" the helicopter prior to takeoff. The helicopter then departed the airport and, moments later, the passenger called out the pilot's name as they impacted trees.

A witness at the airp ort reported seeing the helicopter parked "facing south" prior to its departure. He did not observe the helicopter take off, but after hearing a loud "snap," he drove to the end of his driveway, where he heard the passenger calling for help.

The wreckage was located in a marsh bordered by trees, about 353 feet northwest of the departure end of runway 36. The tree tops located next to the main wreckage exhibited impact markings approximately 50 feet above ground level. The main wreckage was oriented about 24 degrees magnetic, and came to rest inverted in several feet of water. The main rotor blades both exhibited coning in the negative direction, but remained attached to the main rotor mast with the exception of the trailing edge of one of the blades, which had been impact separated. The tailboom was separated from the fuselage and was co-located with the main wreckage.

  

http://registry.faa.gov/N571AC

N571AC ROBINSON R44 ROTORCRAFT STRUCK TREES AND POWERLINES AND CRASHED, THERE WERE 3 PERSONS ON BOARD, 2 WERE FATALLY INJURED, 1 SUSTAINED UNKNOWN INJURIES, WAKULLA COUNTY AIRPORT, PANACEA, FL  


Curtis Clifford, in green, with his wife Kim to the right, and his three children. / Photo provided by Clifford family 



The two men who died in a helicopter crash in Wakulla County a week ago have been laid to rest, but their families are remembering the two as warm, outgoing individuals, eager to give to anyone in need. 


Curtis Clifford, 53, and Terry B. Ooten, 49, both lived in Tallahassee for more than 25 years. Clifford moved to Tallahassee in 1986 and Ooten in 1969.

Clifford’s father, Ron Clifford, told the Democrat from his home in Hilton Head, S.C., his son, a salesman, had an unquenchable thirst for life and enjoyed meeting new people.

“He used to say he was here just to make people smile,” Ron Clifford said. “He just loved talking to people, helping people solve their problems. He loved selling things because he knew it was helping people do something better.”

Ooten’s obituary said the licensed helicopter pilot and president of Trademark Development and Construction went above and beyond in caring for his two children, taught cooking classes at Publix and enjoyed traveling and flying.

“He would be the life of the party, cooking food for anybody who wanted it,” the obituary said. “Terry was a kind-hearted, optimistic person who always had a positive outlook on life and a warm smile for everyone.”

Ron Clifford, who flew fixed-wing airplanes, said his son jumped at the chance to fly in the helicopter piloted by Ooten last week. Curtis Clifford’s wife Kim was offered a seat, but declined.

The helicopter was trying to take off from the Wakulla County Airport about 8 p.m. Feb. 8, when it collided with a tree limb and eventually landed on its roof, the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office said.

Ooten and Clifford were pronounced dead on scene, but passenger Sheri Devore, 46, also of Tallahassee, was taken to the hospital with unknown injuries. She remained at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare in fair condition as of Friday.

Investigators recovered the helicopter from a nearby swamp, according to National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Eric Weiss. The impact area of the crash was 30 yards wide. NTSB could not say Wednesday whether the tree limb played a role in the crash or was something the helicopter hit as it fell to the ground.

The investigation into the cause of the crash is likely to last more than a year, but the NTSB is expected to release its preliminary findings next week. The aircraft had been used by WTXL as a news helicopter. Weiss did not know when the helicopter was made.

Thomas Diefenbach, president of Tallahassee Helicopters — which owned the four-seat Robinson R-44 helicopter — said many factors may have led to the crash. A helicopter’s blade system is crucial to its flight, he said, and any damage or reduction of speed could contribute to such an incident.

“If a rotor blade hits a solid object, a tree certainly, or it gets off course, bent or damaged,” Diefenbach said, “it would slow down, taking the lift away. The aircraft could be completely out of control.”

He added that helicopters undergo rigorous maintenance schedules and are checked after every 100 hours of use.

“They’re in excellent condition compared to a car,” Diefenbach said. “Any part that is remotely out of tolerance would have to be replaced.”

NTSB officials are in the fact-finding phase of the investigation. The agency’s spokesman Weiss said investigators are looking into every aspect of the helicopter’s mechanics as well as the background of the pilot and passengers.

“That’s why we investigate these things,” Weiss said. “Right now, the way we do our investigations, everything is under consideration.”

In the last 10 years, 1,470 accidents occurred involving helicopters used as air ambulances, for search and rescue missions and commercial helicopter operations. As a result, 477 people died and 274 were injured, according to NTSB.

WCSO said the trio was heading back to Tallahassee after dinner at Angelo’s in Panacea. Ron Clifford said people at the restaurant saw the three drinking iced tea. Several said they stayed away from alcohol because they were flying.

They also made a lasting impression.

“All the people that saw them in the restaurant said they were having a blast,” Ron said, crying on the phone. “At least they were having fun right up until the last minute.”

Investigators are working with the helicopter’s engine manufacturer, Lycoming, and the maker of the frame, Robinson, and were doing an on-scene investigation earlier this week, where they collected evidence and examined the wreckage.

Now they’re looking at maintenance and pilot records, as well as autopsy and toxicology reports.

Funeral services for both men were held in Tallahassee this week. Members of Ooten’s family could not be reached for comment.

Ron Clifford said his family is a tight-knit group that gathers each year in Hilton Head for Camp Clifford, where family members are assigned a number denoting their family rank. The numbers now reach into the 30s.

He lost a son to Lou Gehrig’s disease a few years ago, but the unexpected death of a second son is different.

“This is a little tougher to deal with because it’s over in a heartbeat and you don’t get to say goodbye,” Ron Clifford said. “I don’t know how you get through this without the Lord and your close friends. It’s almost impossible.”


 

Terry Bryan Ooten (1964 - 2014) 


Terry Bryan Ooten

Terry Bryan Ooten, 49, of Tallahassee, passed away Saturday, February 8, 2014.

A celebration of his life will be held in a memorial service at Wildwood Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee on Thursday, February 13th at 2:00 pm. A burial service will be held immediately following at MeadowWood Memorial Park, Timberlane Road. Bevis Funeral Home (www.bevisfh.com or 850/385.2193) is handling the arrangements. 

A native of Chattanooga, TN, Terry lived in Tallahassee since 1969.He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1986. He studied at Florida State University and The University of Florida, graduating with an engineering degree.Among other businesses owned, he was the president of Trademark Development and Construction. He was a member of the Capital Tiger Bay Club and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. 

Terry loved his children with all of his heart, and supported his family and all of their activities. He went above and beyond in caring for his children.He was an avid supporter of his daughter Olivia, and her passions throughout her life including Maclay girls' soccer, running, and traveling. He was very involved as she grew up. Terry was Mr. Science in Kindergarten and would come in and do experiments in Olivia's class. Terry was also the leader of the Indian Princesses, and contributed a lot to Brownies. 

Terry also supported his son, TJ Ooten, in every way possible. Terry faithfully followed TJ's baseball teams, football teams, basketball teams, tennis teams, track team, and Cub Scouts throughout TJ's childhood. Terry would always be more than willing to host parties for his children, and he would often be the life of the party, cooking food for anybody who wanted it. 


Other than his family, his great joys in life were traveling, cooking, and flying.Terry taught cooking classes at Publix in his spare time, and he loved inventing new recipes and entertaining people. He was always making plans for the next place that his family wanted to visit. He believed in exposing his children to the world, and letting them experience different people and cultures as they grew up. Terry was a kind hearted, optimistic person who always had a positive outlook on life and a warm smile for everyone. 

He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Melissa Ooten, a son Terry Bryan Ooten, Jr. (TJ), 21, a daughter Olivia Madison Ooten, 18, his father Homer Ooten, his sister Cynthia (Cindy) Ooten Milne (Ian Milne), his nephew Alexander Milne, mother-in-law Linda Mings (Lonnie Mings), father-in-law David Wood, sister-in-law Susan Wood, and a host of other family members and friends.He was preceded by his mother Pamela Ooten. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Fellowship of Christian Athletes or FL. Baptist Children's Home. 

- See more at: http://www.legacy.com
Terry Bryan Ooten

Terry Bryan Ooten, 49, of Tallahassee, passed away Saturday, February 8, 2014.

A celebration of his life will be held in a memorial service at Wildwood Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee on Thursday, February 13th at 2:00 pm. A burial service will be held immediately following at MeadowWood Memorial Park, Timberlane Road. Bevis Funeral Home (www.bevisfh.com or 850/385.2193) is handling the arrangements.
A native of Chattanooga, TN, Terry lived in Tallahassee since 1969.He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1986. He studied at Florida State University and The University of Florida, graduating with an engineering degree.Among other businesses owned, he was the president of Trademark Development and Construction. He was a member of the Capital Tiger Bay Club and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Terry loved his children with all of his heart, and supported his family and all of their activities. He went above and beyond in caring for his children.He was an avid supporter of his daughter Olivia, and her passions throughout her life including Maclay girls' soccer, running, and traveling. He was very involved as she grew up. Terry was Mr. Science in Kindergarten and would come in and do experiments in Olivia's class. Terry was also the leader of the Indian Princesses, and contributed a lot to Brownies.
Terry also supported his son, TJ Ooten, in every way possible. Terry faithfully followed TJ's baseball teams, football teams, basketball teams, tennis teams, track team, and Cub Scouts throughout TJ's childhood. Terry would always be more than willing to host parties for his children, and he would often be the life of the party, cooking food for anybody who wanted it.
Other than his family, his great joys in life were traveling, cooking, and flying.Terry taught cooking classes at Publix in his spare time, and he loved inventing new recipes and entertaining people. He was always making plans for the next place that his family wanted to visit. He believed in exposing his children to the world, and letting them experience different people and cultures as they grew up. Terry was a kind hearted, optimistic person who always had a positive outlook on life and a warm smile for everyone.
He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Melissa Ooten, a son Terry Bryan Ooten, Jr. (TJ), 21, a daughter Olivia Madison Ooten, 18, his father Homer Ooten, his sister Cynthia (Cindy) Ooten Milne (Ian Milne), his nephew Alexander Milne, mother-in-law Linda Mings (Lonnie Mings), father-in-law David Wood, sister-in-law Susan Wood, and a host of other family members and friends.He was preceded by his mother Pamela Ooten.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Fellowship of Christian Athletes or FL. Baptist Children's Home. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/tallahassee/obituary.aspx?n=terry-bryan-ooten&pid=169623089&fhid=5827#sthash.xBpR7JQZ.dpuf


Sheri Devore (pictured), 46 of Tallahassee, was among three people on board the Tallahassee Helicopters Robinson R-44 helicopter when it crashed early Saturday evening. 

 The pilot, Terry Ooten, and a second passenger, Curtis Robert Clifford, were both killed.


 The pilot, Terry Ooten, and a second passenger, Curtis Robert Clifford (pictured), were both killed.






































 




































UPDATE (February 10, 2014 - 11:08 A.M.)

PANACEA, Fla. (WTXL) -- The lone survivor of a weekend helicopter crash has been upgraded to 'fair condition'.

Sheri Devore, 46 of Tallahassee, was among three people on board the Tallahassee Helicopters Robinson R-44 helicopter when it crashed early Saturday evening.


The pilot, Terry Ooten, and a second passenger, Curtis Robert Clifford, were both killed.

A spokeswoman with Tallahassee Memorial Hospital told WTXL ABC27 Monday morning that Devore has been upgraded to fair condition.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are trying to determine the cause of the crash.

Deputies with the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office says the helicopter crashed after hitting trees and power lines as it was taking off Saturday evening from the Wakulla County Airport in Panacea.
The three were on their way back to Tallahassee after having dinner at Angelo and Son's restaurant.
"I drove them up there and we conversed all the way about the changes in the county, what they had to eat, how their lives were and how my life was," said Angeline Petrandis, an owner of Angelo and Son's restaurant.

Petrandis told WTXL ABC27's Jade Bulecza that she heard the news of the crash after getting back to the restaurant.

"One of the ladies who worked here came out running and said somebody's scanner said there was helicopter crash and it just rocked me because I knew it had to be them," said Petrandis.
She jumped in her truck and and found Devore on the ground.

Devore was taken to the hospital but the pilot Terry Ooten and Curtis Clifford were killed. The helicopter is registered to Tallahassee Helicopters. The owner of the company Dr. Thomas Diefenbach was a good friend of Ooten's.

"He was a very a generous person and he's really beloved by so many people in the community," said Dr. Diefenbach.

He remembers the trips they took together.

"We went to California to for the Robinson helicopter safety course which really helps to make pilots better pilots. Terry always strived to be the best pilot he could be."

It's those memories he'll cherish forever and he's praying for the families and that Devore will have a speedy recovery.

The helicopter was owned by Tallahassee Helicopters and was used by WTXL ABC27 for aerial coverage of news stories. The helicopter was not being used by WTXL ABC27 at the time of the accident. None of the people on the helicopter are employed by the station.

Our thoughts are with the families impacted by this tragic accident.

 http://www.wtxl.com


Panacea, FL - Federal Officials continue to investigate a helicopter crash in Panacea Saturday night. Two people are dead while one person recovers from the wreckage. 

"I seen a big flash of blue light we thought it was an accident so we came down to check it out and just seen a lady standing hollering for help standing on the bottom of a helicopter," explained Michael Carter who was there moments after the crash.

Around 8:00 Saturday evening a Tallahassee Helicopters chopper crashed in the marsh lands right outside Carter's home near the Wakulla County Airport.

"It kicked in that I needed to call the sheriff's office and do what I could do to save the lady or at least do what I could do to help save the lady," said Carter. 

When emergency responders arrived they found 49 year old Terry Ooten and 53 year old Curtis Cliford both dead inside the helicopter. Sheri Devore was the only one who survived. 

Sunday the remains of the helicopter were taken out of the marsh from where it was found and put in a secure location for investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. 

NTSB Air Safety Investigator, Stephen Stein explained, "Right now we are in the fact gathering phase of the investigation. So our team assembled on scene we documented the terrain, the area. We photographed the wreckage." 

NTSB says the investigation will take twelve months to complete and only then will they provide an explanation as to how this helicopter is now a pile of rubble. 

It's a scene Carter says he won't ever forget, "Somebody needed help I'd do it all over again."
NTSB is asking for anyone with information to please email them at: witness@ntsb.gov. 




By: Emily Johnson
UPDATED: February 9, 2014 - 7:55pm

Panacea, FL - "My first visual of them was they finished their meal and they came to the cash register and the cashier was going to take them to the airport, but she's so much more efficient on the cash register that I said let me take them," said Arline Petrandis, owner of Angelo and Sons.

Around 7:30 p.m. Saturday night, Petrandis says she drove Curtis Clifford, Terry Ooten and Sheri Devore back to the Wakulla County Airport. Petrandis says they talked about the restaurant and the times that the folks had eaten there.

"The last thing I said to them was 'oh what a romantic evening you've had. Tell everybody that's just wonderful that you flew your helicopter down here to eat at the restaurant.' They were just totally happy and totally pleasant. It's a shocking tragedy."

Before they could even start their journey home, authorities say their four passenger Robinson R-44 helicopter crashed into trees and power lines while leaving the airport in Panacea.

Petrandis says Angelo's restaurant is shocked that something like this happened in the small town.
"Everybody was just rocked to be that close to death. To see three people happy and 10 minutes later two of them have left this world. It rocks you."




Press Release: Tallahassee Helicopters
UPDATED: February 9, 2014 - 7:45pm


We, at Tallahassee Helicopters, are shocked and deeply hurt to hear of the tragic accident last night. On Saturday afternoon, Terry Ooten, who has been a long time customer and close friend to all of us at Tallahassee Helicopters, rented the helicopter to fly with two of his close friends to have dinner at a restaurant in Panacea.

The accident occurred as they were taking off to return to Tallahassee from Wakulla Airport, taking the life of Terry and his friend Curtis Clifford. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those two families and friends. We also join with all others in concern for the recovery of Sheri Devore.

Tallahassee Helicopters is collaborating with the FAA and the NTSB in their investigations."




By: Bailey Myers
UPDATED: February 9, 2014 - 8am


Panacea, FL – Two Tallahassee men are dead, and woman was injured after their helicopter crashed into a Wakulla County marshland.

“We had a crash out here of a helicopter,” said Wakulla County Sheriff Charlie Creel. “We were notified on the way that we had two deceased, and one survivor.”

53-year-old Curtis Robert Clifford and 49-year-old Terry Bryan Ooten were found dead in the Tallahassee Helicopters WTXL labeled chopper. The lone survivor is 45-year-old Sheri Noelle Devore.

Officials believe the helicopter had just taken off when it hit trees close to the Wakulla County Airport’s runway. The helicopter then cut nearby power lines, and came to rest in a marshy area.
“We were able to treat on victim and have them transported to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. We removed the other two victims later on,” said Wakulla County Fire Rescue Chief Mike Morgan.
The blades of the chopper were visible from the roadway, and teams of emergency responders spent hours combing through the wreckage.

“We don’t know if it was pilot error, mechanical error, we have no idea. That’s left to the NTSB,” Creel said.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were both notified. They will be investigating what circumstances led up to and resulted in the crash.
WTXL says the helicopter was not being used for their news gathering purposes at the time of the crash.




UPDATED: February 8, 2014 - 11:47pm

The Wakulla County Sheriff's Office has released the names of the victims in the helicopter crash.
Curtis Robert Clifford, 53 and Terry Bryan Ooten, 49, both of Tallahassee were found dead at the scene of the crash.

Sheri Noelle Devore, 45, of Tallahassee was the lone survivor. She has been rushed to an area hospital. We are still waiting on her condition.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation and Safety Board have been notified and will be investigating tomorrow. 




UPDATED: February 8, 2014 - 9:09pm

Two people are dead after a helicopter crash in Panacea Saturday night. The pilot and a passenger died at the scene. An additional passenger survived and was taken to an area hospital by Life Flight.
The Wakulla County Sheriff's Office says the crash happened after the helicopter took off and hit either power lines or tree limbs. 

The helicopter crashed in a marshy area right by the landing strip.

This is not a military helicopter. WCSO has not released the names of the victims yet.




By: James Buechele
February 8, 2014 - 8:45pm


Panacea, FL - A helicopter has crashed near the Panacea landing strip in Wakulla County. 

Wakulla County Sheriff Charlie Creel has confirmed a helicopter crashed sometime after 8:00 p.m. on Saturday. A large portion of Panacea is without power right now.

Few details are known at this time. We have a reporter headed to the scene. As soon as more information comes in we will post it on WCTV.tv

Source:   http://www.wctv.tv


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- Two people are dead after a helicopter crash in Panacea.

One person survived but at this time, their condition is unknown.

Deputies with the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office are on the scene of the crash.

They say it happened around eight p.m. They believe the helicopter clipped some trees before crashing in a marshy wooded area near the airport in Pancea.

The sheriff's office originally stated the pilot was 53-year old Curtis Robert Clifford, but now they have learned Clifford was a passenger and 49-year old Terry Bryan Ooten was the pilot.  They were both killed. Another passenger 45-year old Sheri Noelle Devore survived.

The helicopter was owned by Tallahassee Helicopters.

WTXL partners with the company to gather video of news events.

The helicopter was not flying for our purposes Saturday. Tallahassee Helicopters uses the aircraft for training as well as rentals.

Deputies tell us the three flew the helicopters to eat at a restaurant in Panacea.

The crash happened as they were leaving. Our thoughts and prayers our with the families involved.

Here's more information from the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office:

At approximately 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8 two Tallahassee men were killed in a helicopter crash at the Wakulla County Airport in Panacea. A Tallahassee woman was injured and transported to a Tallahassee hospital with unknown injuries by medical helicopter.

The three individuals were on their way back to Tallahassee after eating at a local restaurant. The helicopter clipped a tree limb and crashed and landed on its top. The tree limb took down a power line which hampered emergency worker efforts until the line could be turned off. The helicopter landed in a wooded and marshy area near the airport.

The FAA and NTSB will be called to the scene to continue the investigation. The emergency call was answered by FHP, the Ochlockonee Bay VFD, Wakulla Firefighters and the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office.

The helicopter was owned by Tallahassee Helicopter and was used for video footage for news stories for WTXL Channel 27. The helicopter was not being used by WTXL at the time the accident took place. None of the people on the helicopter are employees of the television station.

February 8, 2014 8:37 p.m.

PANACEA, Fla. (WTXL)--A helicopter crash in Panacea kills two people.

The Wakulla County Sheriff's Office says one person survived. The person's condition is unknown. Deputies say the helicopter is owned by Tallahassee Helicopters.

Deputies believe the helicopter clipped some trees limbs in a marshy, wooded area around 8 p.m. near the airport.