Thursday, August 10, 2017

MD Helicopter 369E, N155NR, State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division: Accident occurred June 17, 2016 in Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota

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

NTSB Identification: GAA16LA325 
14 CFR Public Aircraft
Accident occurred Friday, June 17, 2016 in Brainerd, MN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/06/2017
Aircraft: MD HELICOPTER 369E, registration: N155NR
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The commercial pilot reported that, during an aerial observation flight near known thunderstorms, the right center windscreen shattered. The pilot sustained multiple facial lacerations, but he was able to land the helicopter near a highway without further incident. The pilot reported that he did not see anything strike the windscreen and found no evidence of a bird strike.

Examination of the helicopter revealed that debris from the windscreen substantially damaged two of the main rotor blades and the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer. Examination of the windscreen and its frame revealed evidence of cracking that originated in the center of the windscreen and propagated outward, consistent with impact forces from outside the helicopter.

DNA from samples taken from portions of the windscreen matched DNA from a Western Kingbird; however, given the extent of the damage to the windscreen, the small size of the Western Kingbird, and the pilot’s statement, it is likely that this DNA was due to a previous bird strike and did not result in the failure of the windscreen. Therefore, the reason for the windscreen failure could not be determined. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The failure of the helicopter’s windscreen for reasons that could not be determined based on the available information, which resulted in substantial damage to the main rotor blades and horizontal stabilizer.

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

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

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

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

State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division

http://registry.faa.gov/N155NR

NTSB Identification: GAA16LA325
14 CFR Public Aircraft
Accident occurred Friday, June 17, 2016 in Brainerd, MN
Aircraft: MD HELICOPTER 369E, registration: N155NR
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 June 17, 2016 about 1400 central daylight time (CDT), an MD Helicopters Inc., 369E, N155NR, sustained a windscreen failure in flight, 20 miles south of Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport, Minnesota. The helicopter was registered to the State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division and operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) public use local flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, and company VFR flight following was in effect.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration Inspector who responded to the accident, the right front windscreen failed in cruise flight for unknown reasons. The inspector reported that the pilot sustained facial lacerations but he was able to land the helicopter next to a highway, and shutdown without further incident. The observer on board did not sustain any injury. A post-accident examination of the helicopter by the inspector revealed gouges in the main rotor blades and the horizontal stabilizer. When asked by the inspector, the pilot stated that he did not see anything strike the windscreen and that there wasn't any evidence of a bird strike.

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