Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Robinson R44 II, N62FA, registered to and operated by JMX Helicopters LLC: Accident occurred July 07, 2017 in Pocahontas, Bond County, Illinois

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Springfield, Illinois

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

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

JMX Helicopters LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N62FA

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA398
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Friday, July 07, 2017 in Pocahontas, IL
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II, registration: N62FA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The helicopter pilot reported that the helicopter was positioned on top of a platform that was located on top of the agricultural chemical truck. And he was waiting for the ground crew to reload the helicopter.

During the reload, he misinterpreted the ground crew members hand and arm signal, and initiated the takeoff. He quickly realized that the filler hose was still attached when the helicopter yawed right and simultaneously banked left. 

He attempted a right pedal turn to avoid tail rotor contact with the truck, and he tried to position the helicopter as far from the truck as possible. However, when the helicopter descended, the main rotor blades struck the truck and the helicopter came to rest on its left side. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tail rotor drive system, and the main rotor system.

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

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