Saturday, May 28, 2016

Robinson R44, N921ES: Accident occurred May 28, 2016 at Kestrel Airpark (1T7), Spring Branch, Comal County, Texas

Flying Helicopters Inc:

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA San Antonio FSDO-17

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA283
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 28, 2016 in Spring Branch, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/22/2016
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R44, registration: N921ES
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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.

According to the pilot, he was hover taxiing the helicopter in a confined area, after refueling. He reported there was a large tree to the southwest of his position and a light pole to northeast of his position. He recalled that he began to taxi to the northwest; away from the light pole, but "a significant left quartering wind" about 9 knots gave him "a hard time controlling the tail". He reported that he did not feel that he could turn the nose into the wind in the confined area and decided to climb vertically to avoid obstacles. He reported that he ascended, encountered a wind gust, and the tailboom yawed to the right and struck the light pole. The helicopter descended, impacted the ground, and came to rest on its left side. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, the main and tail rotor systems.

The pilot reported that there were not any mechanical anomalies or malfunctions with any portion of the helicopter that would have prevented normal flight operations.

The nearest weather reporting station was two miles north-northwest. The meteorological aerodrome report about the time of the accident reported the wind was out of 160 degrees true at 11 knots. 

FAA-8083-21A, Chap. 11-20 para. 2 states:

Weathercock Stability (120–240°)

In this region, the helicopter attempts to weathervane, or weathercock, its nose into the relative wind. Unless a resisting pedal input is made, the helicopter starts a slow, uncommanded turn either to the right or left, depending upon the wind direction. If the pilot allows a right yaw rate to develop and the tail of the helicopter moves into this region, the yaw rate can accelerate rapidly. In order to avoid the onset of LTE in this downwind condition, it is imperative to maintain positive control of the yaw rate and devote full attention to flying the helicopter.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain helicopter control while hovering in gusting tailwind conditions, resulting in the tailboom striking a light pole and impact with terrain.

BULVERDE, Texas - The Comal County Sheriff’s Office has reported that a helicopter crashed at Kestrel Airpark, just north of Bulverde.

The crash happened just after 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

The pilot, 69, was trying to land and refuel the aircraft when a tailwind pushed the tail into a light post.   

The man was taken to Stone Oak Methodist Hospital with minor injuries.

The Department of Public Safety is investigating the crash and the Federal Aviation Administration has been notified.

Original article can be found here:

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