Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Bell UH-1H, King County Sheriff's Office, N790RJ: Accident occurred July 17, 2016 in Yakima, Washington

KING COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE: http://registry.faa.gov/N790RJ

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Spokane FSDO-13

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA142
14 CFR Public Use
Accident occurred Sunday, July 17, 2016 in Yakima, WA
Aircraft: BELL UH1H, registration: N790RJ
Injuries: 8 Uninjured.

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 July 17, 2016, about 1400 Pacific daylight time, a Bell UH-1H helicopter, N790RJ, impacted terrain while maneuvering near a landing zone located at an elevation of about 7,800 feet in mountainous terrain southwest of Yakima, Washington. Two pilots, four crewmembers and two passengers were not injured; the helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and the landing gear. The helicopter was registered to and operated by the King County Sherriff's Department as a public flight in support of a Search and Rescue (SAR) mission. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from Yakima Air Terminal/McAllister Field (YKM), Yakima, Washington at about 1330.

The co-pilot reported that the flight departed YKM to conduct an insertion of two SAR personnel onto Mt. Adams to extract an injured hiker. Both pilot and the co-pilot assessed the wind as light and variable. The pilot executed a reconnaissance approach from the north to south and expected a slight head wind. However, as he was using too much left pedal, he decided to abort the approach and execute a second reconnaissance approach from south to north. On the second approach, below effective transitional lift, at an altitude of about 100 feet above ground level, and pointed towards the mountain, the helicopter yawed to the right and then accelerated into a fast right hand spin. Both pilots immediately recognized the loss of tail rotor effectiveness. The pilot pushed in full left pedal and attempted to fly the helicopter away from terrain. After one and a half spins, the helicopter impacted the ground, bounced back into the air, and continued with a straight and level flight away from the mountain.

The helicopter then returned to YKM.

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