14 CFR Part 133: Rotorcraft Ext. Load
Accident occurred Monday, November 02, 2015 in Dallas, OR
Aircraft: BELL 206B, registration: N22743
Injuries: 1 Minor.
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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On November 2, 2015, about 1424 Pacific standard time, a Bell 206B, N22743, was substantially damaged during an autorotation landing following a partial loss of engine power near Dallas, Oregon. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Applebee Aviation, Banks, Oregon, under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 133. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the helicopter, sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the external load operations flight. The local flight originated from a staging area nearby the accident site about 15 minutes prior to the accident.
The pilot reported that prior to the accident flight the helicopter was refueled with 30 gallons of Jet-A fuel. The pilot departed from a staging area and began lifting Christmas trees from a field to a nearby loading zone. The pilot stated that after about 5 or 10 loads, he released a load of trees in the loading zone and shortly after, it seemed like the engine went to a reduced power setting at an altitude of about 50 feet above ground level. He further stated that he heard an abnormal noise originate from the helicopter as the helicopter began to spin to the right along with an illumination of a low rotor RPM light. The pilot jettisoned the external load line and rolled the throttle towards a closed position in order to counteract the yawing motion, with no response noted. The pilot initiated an autorotation and during the landing sequence, the helicopter impacted a tree. Subsequently, the helicopter came to rest upright in a nose high position.
Postaccident examination of the helicopter by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the tailboom forward of the tailrotor gearbox was twisted about 90-degrees. The helicopter was recovered to a secure location for further examination.
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Portland FSDO-09
“Mr. Applebee has demonstrated that he will ignore or fail to comply with any or all pesticide application requirements if compliance would cost him money,” stated an official notice from ODA to Applebee.
The new civil penalty of $160,000 against the company is in addition to a civil penalty of $20,000 issued to company owner Michael Applebee, who is a licensed pesticide applicator. ODA is suspending both the company’s operator license and Michael Applebee’s applicator license for five years.
ODA initially suspended Applebee’s license Sept. 25, 2015, for performing aerial herbicide application activities in a faulty, careless or negligent manner. It also gave the company a $1,100 civil penalty at the same time.
But Applebee continued to conduct application activities after Sept. 25, despite the suspended license, prompting ODA to get a temporary restraining order from Washington County Circuit Court on Oct. 11, and to issue a $40,000 civil penalty and a one-year license suspension.
The latest ODA investigation revealed the company performed 16 separate pesticide applications on private, state and federal forest lands between Sept. 26 and Oct. 2, in violation of its suspended license.
Applications took place on private forest land in Douglas and Lane counties, on state forest land in Clatsop County and on Bureau of Land Management land in Lake County, according to the ODA’s notice to Applebee.
The applications on BLM land on Oct. 1 and 2 took place after Mike Applebee and Applebee Aviation’s operation manager Warren Howe asked for and were denied permission from the ODA to perform the operation.
“Mr. Applebee stated that the contract [with BLM] was worth three million dollars and that he felt pressure to complete the job despite the fact that the Applebee Aviation’s CPO [Commercial Pesticide Operator] license was suspended,” the ODA’s notice said.
Although company owner Michael Applebee did not conduct any of the applications, ODA has moved to suspend his applicator’s license and issue a $20,000 civil penalty because of his lead role in making the decision to conduct application with a suspended license.
“Issuing $180,000 in civil penalties and five-year license revocations against Applebee Aviation underscores how serious the Oregon Department of Agriculture considers the violations that have taken place,” says ODA Director Katy Coba.
“We take all violations of the state’s pesticide law seriously. The fact that this operator knowingly and willfully continued to conduct pesticide applications 16 times after receiving a suspended license shows contempt for state regulations and our department. We cannot and will not tolerate such disregard for the law by which all pesticide operators are expected to live by.”
ODA’s regulatory action is being appealed by Applebee Aviation, which has the right to contest it through an administrative hearing.
Applebee Aviation’s week began poorly with a with a helicopter crash in Polk County Monday, Nov. 2, during a tree harvesting operation. According to witnesses, the helicopter suffered engine failure. The pilot, identified as Blaine Hayes, was uninjured. He refused medical care and left the scene, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
“The employees from Applebee Aviation who were at the scene then loaded into two vehicles and left prior to deputies from Polk County Sheriff’s Office arriving on scene,” the release said.
“At this point it is unknown why employees of the aviation company left the scene of the accident so quickly after refusing medical assistance.”
The crash — the fifth in as many years involving Applebee Aviation aircraft — is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
Original article can be found here: http://www.pamplinmedia.com
This photograph of a helicopter spraying herbicides is among hundreds whistleblower Darryl Ivy released after a month working for Applebee Aviation driving trucks and handling pesticides on Seneca Jones Timber Company sites. Credit Darryl Ivy.