Thursday, April 27, 2017

Robinson R44 Raven II, N728CB: Accident occurred April 27, 2017 in Newton, Catawba County, North Carolina

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charlotte, North Carolina
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 
Robinson Helicopter Company; Torrance, California 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report -  National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA168
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, April 27, 2017 in Newton, NC
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II, registration: N728CB
Injuries: 2 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 April 27, 2017, about 1330 eastern daylight time, a Robinson R44 II, N728CB, operated by Chesapeake Bay Helicopters, was substantially damaged during a collision with terrain while maneuvering near Newton, North Carolina. The commercial pilot and crewmember incurred minor injuries. The local aerial observation flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a company flight plan was filed for the flight that originated from Concord Regional Airport (JQF), Concord, North Carolina, about 1225.

The pilot reported that he was performing a pipeline patrol at 500 feet above ground level and an airspeed of 70 knots. During the patrol, the crew observed a right-of-way infraction and circled the location at the same airspeed and altitude. While extending the circling pattern, the pilot felt a shudder in the controls while at the same time, the nose of the helicopter yawed right and the helicopter began to spin. He immediately lowered the nose in an attempt to increase forward motion, but the rate of spin increased. He then attempted to set up for an autorotation and avoid residences and utility wires. The helicopter subsequently impacted the ground and the pilot was able to shut down the engine and exit the helicopter.

The observer reported that while on pipeline patrol, they circled to photograph construction work. While circling, the helicopter lost control and spun two or three times before impacting the ground.

Examination of the wreckage revealed substantial damage to the helicopter. Tailrotor driveshaft continuity was confirmed from the tailrotor blades to the main rotor. Continuity was also confirmed from the left anti-torque pedal to the tailrotor. A section of right anti-torque pedal control tube was found bent and separated. The separated section of control tube was retained for metallurgical examination.

The helicopter's most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on March 10, 2017. At that time, the airframe and engine had accumulated 1,873.6 total hours of operation. The helicopter had flown and additional 43.6 hours from the time of the inspection, until the accident flight.

The recorded wind at an airport located about 10 miles northwest of the accident site, at 1253, was from 190° at 8 knots.

CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. -- The pilot of a helicopter that crashed inches from a Catawba County house will be released from a Charlotte hospital on Friday.

The pilot, whose name has not been released, was flown to Charlotte after suffering serious injuries when investigators said his helicopter began having mechanical issues and slammed into the ground.

A clean-up crew spent about an hour Friday afternoon collecting the wreckage outside of a house on Killian Avenue near Newton in Catawba County.

The crew will take it to a facility where NTSB investigators can go through the wreckage to determine the cause of the crash.

The pilot and the passenger inside work for Chesapeake Bay Helicopters in Virginia.

In a phone interview, the company's safety and compliance officer, Kristen McDaniel, said both men are doing fine and will soon be heading home.

"We're just extremely grateful that both the pilot and the observer are okay," McDaniel said. "We are fully cooperating with the NTSB, and we know it'll be a process through the investigation, but we are fully ready to do what we can to help them."

She said the company is not yet releasing the two men's identities.

NBC Charlotte obtained the radio traffic between paramedics and Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory as the pilot was being transported to the hospital.

"This is Medic 10. We're enroute to your facility with a 34-year-old male pilot of a helicopter crash," the paramedic said.

"What's the patient's injuries?" a Frye employee asked later in the radio traffic.

"Patient's complaining of severe back pain," the paramedic responded.

NBC Charlotte also got the helicopter's tail number. According to the FAA, the helicopter was deemed "airworthy" in 2010 and has no record of maintenance issues.

The NTSB said its still in the preliminary stages of the investigation and hope to have an update next week.

Original article can be found here:

CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. -- Two people were injured in a helicopter crash near Newton in Catawba County on Thursday afternoon.

Catawba County Emergency Management Director Karyn Yaussy said the helicopter was doing survey work on a new gas line for Piedmont Natural Gas when it began to have engine trouble.

Highway Patrol spoke to witnesses who said the chopper spun around three times before the engine sounded, as if it cut off.

The chopper crashed inches from Nino Gonzalez's house on McKay Road; its rotor blades clipped a section of his home's roof.

"I'm just like, 'What the heck's going on?'" Gonzalez said. "Me and a couple of the neighbors tried to help the pilot get out because the pilot was crushed up underneath."

Lakea Cromwell lives a few homes down from where the crash happened. She was impressed the pilot was able to maneuver the chopper away from the homes.

"It's a miracle," Cromwell said. "There's too much that could've went wrong."

Yaussy said the pilot suffered critical injuries and was taken to Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory before being airlifted to a hospital in Charlotte. NBC Charlotte is working to confirm which hospital the pilot was flown to.

A passenger in the helicopter was also taken to Frye Regional Medical Center, but that person is expected to be okay.

Investigators with the NTSB are expected to arrive at the site within the next 24 hours.

Story and video:

Nino Gonzalez describes how he asleep in bed when the helicopter crashed into his home.

NEWTON – A helicopter crashed near the corner of Sigmon Dairy Road and McKay Farm Road in Newton on Thursday afternoon.

The helicopter nearly collided with a house at about 1:50 p.m. Although the house was missed directly, the rotors clipped the roof and foundation resulting in some damage.

The pilot and passenger were both injured and transported by Catawba County Emergency Medical Services. The pilot is in critical condition and may be flown to another facility.

The helicopter was surveying a route for a natural gas line before experiencing engine trouble.

The Newton Police Department, Newton Fire Department, Catawba County EMS, and North Carolina State Highway Patrol all responded to the scene.

Officials are waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to arrive from Charlotte to lead the investigation.

While waiting, the local authorities are leaving the helicopter unmoved for the FAA’s assessment.

Original article can be found here:

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