Monday, November 20, 2017

Robinson R22 Beta, N4179M, registered to the pilot and operated by Carmichael Helicopter Service LLC: Fatal accident occurred November 20, 2017 in Electra, Wichita County, Texas

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock, Texas
Robinson Helicopter Company; Torrance, California
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Gideon Carmichael:

Location: Electra, TX
Accident Number: CEN18FA035
Date & Time: 11/20/2017, 1505 CST
Registration: N4179M
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Other Work Use

On November 20, 2017, about 1505 central standard time, a Robinson Helicopter R22 Beta, N4179M, impacted power lines and terrain near Electra, Texas. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The helicopter was destroyed during a subsequent ground fire. The helicopter was registered to the pilot and operated by Carmichael Helicopter Service LLC as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 cattle herding flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area about the time of the accident, and the flight was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated at time unknown.

According to initial witness information, the helicopter was observed herding cattle and a horn could heard during the low-level operation. The helicopter was observed over the powerlines and it maneuvered until it descended in a nose low attitude. The helicopter impacted terrain and a ground fire occurred.

According to initial information from repair personnel, powerlines were found damaged above the helicopter wreckage. A powerline was found nicked and another line was found with strands that were separated. A nearby cross arms support was found damaged. The powerline height was about 29 ft 3 inches above ground level.

The 25-year-old pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) commercial pilot certificate with a rotorcraft helicopter rating. He held an FAA second-class medical certificate issued on December 15, 2016, with no limitations. At the time of that medical, he reported accumulating 2,100 hours total flight time and 400 hours of flight time in the six months before that exam.

N4179M, serial number 4413, was a Robinson Helicopter R22 Beta, two-place, single main rotor, single-engine helicopter, with a spring and yield skid type landing gear. The primary structure of its fuselage was welded steel tubing and riveted aluminum sheet. The tailcone was a monocoque structure consisting of an aluminum skin. Fiberglass and thermoplastics were used in the secondary structure of the cabin, engine-cooling system, and in other ducts and fairings. The doors were constructed of fiberglass and thermoplastics. A 145-horsepower Lycoming O-360-J2A engine, serial number L-40955-36E, powered the helicopter.

At 1452, the recorded weather at the Sheppard Air Force Base/Wichita Falls Municipal Airport, near Wichita Falls (SPS), Texas, was: Wind 190° at 15 kts; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition few clouds at 25,000 ft; temperature 19° C; dew point -3° C; altimeter 29.91 inches of mercury. Peak wind at 1400 was 190° at 28 kts.

The main wreckage came to rest with a 110° heading on its right side about 21 nautical miles and 276° from SPS. The fuselage forward of the firewall was discolored, deformed, and charred consistent with a ground fire. Both skids were found separated from the fuselage and one skid tip had semicircular witness marks consistent with arcing. The main rotor blades remained attached to its mast. The helicopter's beacon light separated from the tailboom and the tailboom had sliding witness marks consistent with powerline contact. The aft portion of the tailboom separated and its tail rotor driveshaft was torn. The twisting separation of the driveshaft was consistent with overload. The aft section of the tail boom was found about 15° and 27 ft from the main wreckage. One tail rotor blade separated and its two liberated sections were found. The tail rotor blade tip was found about 340° and 120 ft from the main wreckage and the other section of the tail rotor blade was found about 80° and 85 ft from the main wreckage. The liberated blade sections separations mated and these sections exhibited semicircular deformation consistent with the shape and size of the powerline. The engine was discolored and deformed consistent with a ground fire. Flight and engine controls could not be traced due to the fire damage. However, all observed discontinuities were consistent with overload or melting separations.

The Wichita County Coroner was asked to perform an autopsy on the pilot and to take samples for toxicological testing. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: ROBINSON HELICOPTER
Registration: N4179M
Model/Series: R22 BETA
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built:  No  
Operator: Carmichael Helicopter Service LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSPS, 1019 ft msl
Observation Time: 1452 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 21 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / -3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 25000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 15 knots, 190°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.91 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Electra, TX
Destination: Electra, TX

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 34.002500, -98.900833

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Gideon William Carmichael
June 05, 1992 - November 20, 2017

Gideon was the owner of Carmichael Helicopter Services, and loved to fly. He enjoyed snowboarding, wakeboarding, kiteboarding, hunting, fishing, deep sea fishing, and traveling around the country on many hunting expeditions. He loved The Lord, his family, people, music and being in the roping pen. Gideon loved life; he lived it to the fullest, and never said no to any adventure. 

A 25-year-old Texoma man who lost his life in a helicopter crash is being remembered for his willingness to always lend a helping hand.

Gideon William Carmichael passed away in a tragic accident Monday in Electra.

Trey Webb, owner of Flap-Air Helicopter Service out of North Texas, said Gideon was like a second son to him and shared how he turned his passion for flying into a tool to help Hurricane Harvey victims. 

Video captured by the West Texas Air Force shows how a group of pilots came together when our neighbors down south needed them most. One of those aviators, 25-year-old Gideon Carmichael.

Webb said he knew Carmichael since he was a teen when he taught him how to fly and helped him get his pilot’s license. Since then, Carmichael has been a part of his family.

He said he was a very respectful, polite young man who grew up in the ranching industry and was always outdoors.

So it comes as no surprise the young pilot, along with other members of the West Texas Air Force, packed up to help out.

A fellow pilot said Carmichael spent about four days down south helping deliver food, blood donations and even moved about 3,000 cattle from the flood water to dry land.

That pilot said he and Carmichael are both from farm and ranching families and felt they could not just sit back and watch when Harvey hit but had to take action.

Carmichael's friends and family members are taking to Facebook to send their thoughts and prayers to his family and share their memories.

A post on Flap-Air Helicopter Service’s page says “Our prayers, our hearts and our deepest sympathy go out to the Carmichael family. You raised an amazing young man, who we loved and will miss greatly. Gideon, you received a new pair of wings yesterday--- "fly baby fly!"

The Carmichael family says they would like to extend their heartfelt appreciation for all of the thoughts and prayers during this time. 

To honor Gideon Carmichael's life, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Gideon Carmichael Memorial Scholarship or by making a donation in his name to Wishes for Warriors, a place his family says he gave much of his time and heart.  

Gideon Carmichael Memorial Scholarship:

c/o Haskell CISD PO Box 937

Haskell, TX 79521

Story and video ➤

Gideon Carmichael

ELECTRA, TX (KAUZ) -  DPS Trooper Dan Buesing confirmed to Newschannel 6 the pilot, who died, following a helicopter crash in Electra as Gideon William Carmichael, 25, of Haskell.

Carmichael was the only person in the Robinson R22 Beta helicopter. The aircraft went down around 3:00 p.m. on Monday afternoon at Business 287 and Jennings Road. 

DPS Troopers said Gideon Carmichael worked for Carmichael Helicopter Service out of Haskell.

On his Facebook page, it says he was the owner of the business that does everything from cattle work, predator control, game surveys and even aerial video and photography. Other media outlets are reporting that Gideon helped Hurricane Harvey victims.

Trooper Buesing said Carmichael was working when the crash happened.

“Kind of regular ranch-type operations,” said Buesing. “A lot of time in these areas where there's some rough terrains pretty normal thing for helicopters to be involved in helping out with some of the livestock.”

Trooper Buesing said Carmichael was herding cattle before his helicopter hit some power lines, causing him to crash. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Law enforcement said a witness told them once the helicopter hit the ground, a fire sparked.

“There was about a three-acre grass fire burning," said Wichita County Sheriff David Duke. "When we got to the scene, a helicopter was below the power lines." 

Oncor was on the scene for most of the night due to the two power lines that were knocked down.

Carmichael's body has been sent to the Dallas/Fort Worth area for an autopsy. 

Story, video and photo gallery ➤

Gideon Carmichael

A private helicopter reportedly crashed and burst into flames Monday afternoon near Electra, killing a 25-year-old man from Haskell, Texas.

The helicopter pilot, Gideon William Carmichael, was reportedly hired to work cattle through the thick brush area when he crashed about three miles south of Electra, off Jennings Road.

The tail rotor reportedly got hung in a power line, causing the helicopter to spin around and catch on fire. Carmichael was pronounced dead at the scene by the Electra justice of the peace. FAA will be in charge of investigation. Carmichael’s body was sent off for autopsy..

Around 3:10 p.m., a call came into the Wichita County Sheriff's Office that a helicopter had crashed. The scanner reports indicated the helicopter might have snagged a nearby power line.

Initial scanner reports said the helicopter had been fully engulfed in flames.

Traffic was diverted from the area to preserve the crash scene until the proper agencies could arrive to begin their investigation.

Sheppard Air Force Base was notified of the crash. State troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety and Oncor were en route to the scene around 3:30 p.m.

Story and photo gallery ➤

ELECTRA - UPDATE 7:48 P.M.: According to DPS Sergeant Dan Buesing, Gideon William Carmichael, 25, with Carmichael Helicopters in Haskell, Texas was the sole passenger in the Robinson R22 Beta helicopter that crashed in Electra Monday afternoon.

UPDATE 4:52 P.M.: DPS Sergeant Dan Buesing has confirmed to us that the Haskell man piloting the helicopter has died.

UPDATE 4:28 P.M.: A witness on the scene said a man was trying to get cattle back to their home when the tail of the helicopter got caught on a power line, and in a matter of seconds, the helicopter was engulfed in flames.  We are still waiting for an official condition of the pilot.

UPDATE 3:46 P.M.: Our crew has arrived on the scene, and are unable to get close to the scene of the crash. DPS Sergeant Dan Buesing has confirmed to us that this is a helicopter crash.

ORIGINAL STORY: We're getting reports of a possible helicopter crash near Electra. According to authorities, the helicopter is fully engulfed. We have a crew on the way and will continue to bring you updates on the situation.

Original article ➤

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