Thursday, June 22, 2017

Robinson R22 BETA, N901KC, Nelson Flyers Inc: Accident occurred June 21, 2017 in Matagorda, Texas

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Matagorda, TX
Accident Number: GAA17CA356
Date & Time: 06/21/2017, 1130 CDT
Registration: N901KC
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural


The pilot of the helicopter reported that, while flying downwind during rice field pollination operations, he "lost control" of the helicopter. The helicopter impacted the ground and rolled onto its right side.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tail boom.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation.

The automated weather observation station located about 12 miles west of the accident site reported that, about 37 minutes before the accident, the wind was from 360° at 19 knots, gusting 26 knots. The same weather observation station reported that, about 23 minutes after the accident, the wind was from 360° at 18 knots, gusting 26 knots.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain helicopter control during an agricultural flight in gusting wind conditions. 


Performance/control parameters - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Gusts - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-low-alt flying

Loss of control in flight (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 57, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/08/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/20/2017
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 283.2 hours (Total, all aircraft), 217.9 hours (Total, this make and model), 219.1 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 24.7 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 21.9 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1.2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: ROBINSON HELICOPTER
Registration: N901KC
Model/Series: R22
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1990
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 1450
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/14/2017, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1370 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3477 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: O-320-B2C
Registered Owner: NELSON FLYERS INC
Rated Power: 160 hp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural Aircraft (137)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPSX, 15 ft msl
Observation Time: 1653 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 268°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / 21°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 18 knots/ 26 knots, 360°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.73 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Nelson Flyers, TX
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Matagorda, TX
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1015 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries:1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 28.733056, -96.031111 (est)

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