Tuesday, September 02, 2014

MD/Hughes 500D, PJ Helicopters, N516PJ: Accident occurred September 02, 2014 in Willows, California

NTSB Identification: WPR14CA363 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, September 02, 2014 in Willows, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/2014
Aircraft: HUGHES 369D, registration: N516PJ
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

While in cruise flight an unsecured jacket departed the helicopter through an open window. The tail rotor drive shaft sheared as a result of the jacket's contact with the tail rotors. The pilot subsequently initiated a forced landing to an orchard where during landing, the main rotors struck and separated the tailboom. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to adequately secure cargo (a jacket), which resulted in the jacket exiting the cabin compartment and colliding with the tail rotor during cruise flight.

Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Sacramento FSDO-25

PJ HELICOPTERS INC:  http://registry.faa.gov/N516PJ 

According to the Glenn County Sheriff's Office a helicopter, operated by PJ's Helicopters Inc., out of Red Bluff crash landed in a field near Willows a little after 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The pilot, 67-year-old Ron Chaplin, a former Butte County Sheriff's Office pilot, was on his way to pick up two PG&E workers who were scheduled to do powerline work this afternoon while rappeling from the helicopter. Chaplin suffered moderate injuries and was transported to Enloe Medical Center, he is expected to survive.

The National Transportation Safety Board has given PJ's permission to begin clearing the scene and conductuing an internal investigation, and Sheriff Jones told Action News Now that Federal Aviation Administration officials will be on scene tomorrow conducting an investigation of their own.

Stay with Action News Now for updates on this developing story.


WILLOWS >> A former Butte County Sheriff's Office pilot was injured today when the private helicopter he was flying crashed near Willows. 

Ron Chaplin, 67, of Willows, was flying a Hughes D50 helicopter about 1:07 p.m., when the craft came down in an orchard west of Glenn County Road D, off Highway 162, according to Glenn County authorities.

He was found outside the wreckage, conscious and alert, and was taken by helicopter to an area hospital.

His injuries were described as moderate.

Chaplin was flying for PJ Helicopters out of Red Bluff, on a contract with PG&E. He was about to pick up a crew for transport at the time of the crash, authorities at the scene said.

Chaplin flew helicopters for the BCSO for many years before retiring.

- Source:  http://www.chicoer.com

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