Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Bell OH-58C, Helicopter Applicators Inc, N139RD: Accident occurred November 01, 2016 in Cameron, Moore County, North Carolina


HELICOPTER APPLICATORS INC: http://registry.faa.gov/N139RD

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Greensboro FSDO-39

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA032
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 01, 2016 in Cameron, NC
Aircraft: BELL OH 58C, registration: N139RD
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 1, 2016, about 1130 eastern daylight time, a Bell OH-58C, N139RD, operated by Helicopter Applicators Inc., was substantially damaged following a tailboom separation during the initial climb after takeoff in Cameron, North Carolina. The commercial pilot incurred minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the planned local aerial application flight. The helicopter was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137. 

According to the pilot, he stated he flew earlier in the day at a different field, spraying a herbicide and made approximately 12 landings on a truck to refill the herbicide spray. He subsequently flew to a different field and sprayed one load of herbicide, landed and waited for the loading crew to arrive at the new field. Once the loading crew arrived and loaded the helicopter with 80 gallons (720 pounds) of herbicide, he took off and climbed to about 50 feet. Approximately 200 yards away, he heard a loud bang and the helicopter fell to the ground. 

According to a witness, the tailboom moved to the left and then went straight-up into the main rotor system. He further stated that the helicopter then fell straight down to the ground and he ran over to help the pilot out of the helicopter. He added that it looked like the tailboom became loose at the main frame attachment points. 

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the tailboom separated and made contact with the main rotor blades. 

The helicopter was retained for further investigation.

CAMERON, N.C. (WNCN) — A helicopter crashed Tuesday in Moore County, injuring the pilot.

The chopper was an agricultural helicopter that was spraying the area. Helicopters of that type actually land on service trucks to load fuel and chemicals, said Frank Staples of Cypress Pointe Fire.

“I was told that it had just taken on a load of chemical and circled off the truck and apparently had a mechanical malfunction and crashed about three hundred feet from the road in a field that was a cutover with broken limbs and pieces of trees,” he said.

The craft was about 30 feet in the air when the problem happened, the pilot said.

“Crash, bang, boom, the thing just came apart,” said Andrew Stephen, the pilot. “They’re looking it right now, trying to figure out what happened, but I don’t know, I can’t say what happened to it right now.”

He said it was a marvel he was able to walk away from the crash.

“I got lucky, plain and simple,” he said.

The pilot suffered only a few bruises and is doing fine. He was the only person on board the helicopter, a 1971 Bell OH-58C the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The helicopter is registered to Helicopter Applicators Inc. of Gettysburg, Pa.

Story and video:  http://wncn.com

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