Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bell 407, N650HP, registered to and operated by Kansas Highway Patrol: Accident occurred July 07, 2017 at Philip Billard Municipal Airport (KTOP), Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Wichita, Kansas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Kansas Highway Patrol: http://registry.faa.gov/N650HP

Location: Topeka, KS
Accident Number: GAA17CA390
Date & Time: 07/07/2017, 0034 CDT
Registration: N650HP
Aircraft: BELL 407
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Public Aircraft 


The pilot of the helicopter reported that, during a hover taxi under night vision goggles, he "pedal turned facing the west to line up with [the] landing lines painted on the ramp". He added that, he looked under his goggles and observed the right painted mark under the right skid, and noted that he estimated that they were about 6 ft above the ground. He then looked back into his goggles to land the helicopter. The tactical field officer that was on board the helicopter advised the pilot that they needed to move forward. The pilot further reported that he "tried to move forward but nothing happened at which time [he] felt a sudden jolt and then [heard] the noise of the tail rotor strike". The helicopter impacted a building then impacted the ground.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage.

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

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 clearance from a building during landing.


Altitude - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Monitoring environment - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Airport structure - Effect on operation (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight



Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 54, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/07/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/17/2016
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 1295 hours (Total, all aircraft), 271 hours (Total, this make and model), 1034 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 11 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BELL
Registration: N650HP
Model/Series: 407 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2005
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 53665
Landing Gear Type: High Skid
Seats: 7
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/15/2017, AAIP
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 5250 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time: 2752 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rolls Royce
ELT: C126 installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: 250-C47B
Rated Power: 650 hp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KTOP, 885 ft msl
Observation Time: 0553 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 23°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 21°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots, 190°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Topeka, KS (TOP)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Topeka, KS (TOP)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 2256 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 881 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Straight-in 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 39.069167, -95.628056 (est)

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