Saturday, July 8, 2017

Robinson R44 Raven I, N7224U, registered to and operated by JR Aviation Inc: Accident occurred July 08, 2017 in Ireland, Madison Township, Dubois County, Indiana

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

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Indianapolis, Indiana

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


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

http://registry.faa.gov/N7224U


Location: Ireland, IN
Accident Number: CEN17LA267
Date & Time: 07/08/2017, 1040 EDT
Registration: N7224U
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R44
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of tail rotor effectiveness
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural 

On July 8, 2017, about 1040 eastern daylight time, a Robinson R44 helicopter, N7224U, impacted the ground following a loss of control while conducting an aerial application flight near Ireland, Indiana. Following the impact with the ground, a fire erupted and the helicopter was destroyed. The pilot received serious injuries. The aircraft was registered to and operated by JR Aviation , Inc., under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 as an aerial application flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from an unknown location at an unknown time.

The pilot reported that he was spraying a field and when making a spray turn he felt a vibration or shuddering of the whole helicopter accompanied by an uncommanded right yaw. He applied full left pedal and the helicopter centered briefly, but then the right yaw started again and continued to impact. The pilot extricated himself and crawled about 20 ft from the wreckage when a fire erupted and consumed the helicopter. When asked if he felt the event was related to a mechanical or an aerodynamic event, he replied that he thought it was an aerodynamic event. He commented that he was a flight instructor and that he had never felt the kind of vibration that occurred during the accident flight.

Examination of the helicopter was limited due to the extensive fire damage, but no anomalies could be found with components that were able to be examined.

Federal Aviation Administration's Helicopter Flying Handbook, FAA-H-8083-21A, contains a section titled "Loss of Tail Rotor Effectiveness (LTE)" which states:

Loss of tail rotor effectiveness (LTE) or an unanticipated yaw is defined as an uncommanded, rapid yaw towards the advancing blade which does not subside of its own accord. It can result in the loss of the aircraft if left unchecked. It is very important for pilots to understand that LTE is caused by an aerodynamic interaction between the main rotor and tail rotor and not caused from a mechanical failure. Some helicopter types are more likely to encounter LTE due to the normal certification thrust produced by having a tail rotor that, although meeting certification standards, is not always able to produce the additional thrust demanded by the pilot.

FAA-H-8083-21A further stated that early detection followed by application of forward cyclic, right pedal, not left, and reducing collective to reduce the high power demand is the key to recovery.

The weather conditions reported at a nearby airport included variable wind at 4 kts.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 42, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied:Right 
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Helicopter; Instrument Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/24/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 1470 hours (Total, all aircraft), 932 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: ROBINSON HELICOPTER
Registration: N7224U
Model/Series: R44 UNDESIGNATED
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2004
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 1442
Landing Gear Type: Skid;
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/28/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2217 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: O-540-F1B5
Registered Owner: J R AVIATION INC
Rated Power: 225 hp
Operator: J R AVIATION INC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural Aircraft (137)
Operator Does Business As:
Operator Designator Code: JR9A

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: HNB, 529 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1456 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 167°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Ireland, IN
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Ireland, IN
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 1 Serious

Latitude, Longitude: 38.414722, -86.999444

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA267 
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Saturday, July 08, 2017 in Ireland, IN
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R44, registration: N7224U
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 July 8, 2017, about 1040 eastern daylight time, a Robinson R44 helicopter, N7224U, impacted the ground following a loss of control while conducting an aerial application flight near Ireland, Indiana. Following the impact with the ground, a fire erupted and the helicopter was destroyed. The pilot received serious injuries. The aircraft was registered to and operated by JR Aviation , Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 as an aerial application flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from an unconfirmed location at an unconfirmed time.





The pilot in the helicopter crash out of Dubois County has been identified.

We are told that at 10:44 a.m. Saturday, Keith Windsor, 42, of Charlestown was crop dusting in a single-occupant helicopter over fields near County Road 450 North.

Authorities say for some unknown reason, Windsor experienced mechanical issues and crashed into a bean field that was approximately one quarter of a mile south of 6720 West County Road 450 North.

We are told Windsor was able to exit the helicopter prior to it catching on fire.

Authorities say the helicopter was a total loss and destroyed as a result of the crash and fire. Windsor was flown by Air Methods medical helicopter to Saint Vincent Hospital in Evansville where he was treated for a broken leg and chest pains.



 Around 10:45 Saturday, a man piloting a small helicopter crashed in a bean field near 450 North in Jasper. 

The man escaped with injuries. 

Neighbors say they didn't hear the crash, but when they saw the smoke, they knew something went terribly wrong. 

"Well, the wife's in the house. She looked out the back window, she seen the [helicopter] on the ground,” Tony Hoffman said. 

“From here you can't really see what's all back there and if he's ok, or if he was still inside the helicopter or anything,” Tony’s daughter Emily Hoffman said.

It's not everyday someone sees a helicopter crash just beyond your backyard, but when the Hoffmans did, their first reaction was to help. Luckily for 42-year-old Keith Windsor, he made it out before the fire started. 

"We actually blocked the flames from the helicopter to the victim, because he couldn't move anymore, he had lower back pain. We wasn't gonna touch him,” Hoffman said. “We just told him to lay still, you know. He wanted to keep moving, keep moving; we don't know what the extent of his injuries are.” 

Indiana State Police have a better idea. 

"The pilot was airlifted to a hospital in Evansville. He suffered a broken femur, and had a complaint of chest pain. So given the circumstances of the crash, he came away pretty well,” Sergeant Phil Hensley said. “Had this been a deal where he had been trapped inside, this would've been a grave situation." 

ISP said Windsor was crop dusting the bean field near the Hoffman home. As to what happened, authorities are unsure. 

"Why exactly, we don't know. The FAA is currently en route to the scene from Indianapolis. They're gonna be the lead on this investigation,” Sergeant Hensley said. 

"You know it wasn't like he was doing anything crazy, so he didn't, and when we talked to him, he didn't know what happened to the plane,” Hoffman said. 

Windsor was airlifted to St. Vincent, but the hospital has not yet confirmed his condition.

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