Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Bell 47G-5A, Scotts Helicopter Services Inc., N25LB; accident occurred June 08, 2016 in Hastings, Minnesota -Kathryn's Report


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Minneapolis FSDO-15

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA293
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 08, 2016 in Hastings, MN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/14/2016
Aircraft: BELL 47G, registration: N25LB
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.

The pilot reported that he was conducting aerial agricultural operations in a helicopter and that he landed on the bed of the service truck to reload with insecticide and fuel. The pilot further reported that he began to lift off and during the transition to forward flight he pitched the helicopter forward to gain airspeed, but helicopter continued to descend. The pilot reported that he "never gained lift from the ground effect" and subsequently impacted the terrain. 

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tail boom and fuselage.

The pilot reported there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

FAA Helicopter Flying Handbook Chapter 2 "Aerodynamics" defines "In Ground Effect (IGE)" as the increased efficiency of the rotor system caused by interference of the airflow when near the ground. The air pressure or density is increased, which acts to decrease the downward velocity of air. Ground effect permits relative wind to be more horizontal, lift vector to be more vertical, and induced drag to be reduced. These conditions allow the rotor system to be more efficient. Maximum ground effect is achieved when hovering over smooth hard surfaces. When hovering over surfaces as tall grass, trees, bushes, rough terrain, and water, maximum ground effect is reduced. Rotor efficiency is increased by ground effect to a height of about one rotor diameter (measured from the ground to the rotor disk) for most helicopters.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to attain a positive rate of climb during takeoff from a service truck, which resulted in an impact with terrain and substantial damage to the tail boom and fuselage.

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A pilot managed to walk away without injury after a helicopter crashed in Dakota County early Wednesday afternoon, according to the county’s sheriff office.

Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie says deputies were dispatched at around noon to a soybean field, located southeast of the intersection of 205th Street East and Kirby Avenue South, on the report of a helicopter crash.

According to Leslie, the agricultural spray helicopter crashed in the field after flying 100 yards from the refill platform where it took on a load of pesticide.

No pesticide was spilled and the pilot, who was the only occupant, was unharmed.

As of 2:08 p.m., FAA investigators were on their way to the scene.

Original article can be found here:

HASTINGS, Minn. - No one was injured when a helicopter crashed in Hastings Wednesday afternoon.

Officials say crews were dispatched around 12:15 p.m. to the 11800 block of 205th Street East in Marshan Township, where they found the chopper in a field.

The pilot was spraying for peas for Seneca Foods when the crash occurred.

The pilot was not injured. Authorities are looking into how the crash occurred.

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