Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Bell UH-1H-BF Iroquois, N205KS: Accident occurred January 12, 2018 at Van Nuys Airport (KVNY), Los Angeles, California

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California

Aviation Accident Final 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/N205KS

Location: Van Nuys, CA
Accident Number: GAA18CA107
Date & Time: 01/12/2018, 0915 PST
Registration: N205KS
Aircraft: BELL UH 1H
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Public Aircraft 

Analysis 

The pilot reported that, while hovering the helicopter to park between three stationary helicopters, the ground crew gave him the signal for a 180° "pedal turn." As the helicopter was about to touch down, he felt a shudder in the airframe. He then immediately rolled the throttle closed and completed an emergency shutdown.

Postaccident examination revealed that the tail rotor blades struck the main blades of a stationary helicopter, which likely caused the shudder felt by the pilot.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tail rotor and main rotor systems.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions 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 stationary helicopter during landing. Contributing to the accident was the ground crew's failure to ensure that the helicopter would clear the stationary helicopter.

Findings

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)
Expectation/assumption - Ground crew (Factor)
Issuing instructions - Ground crew

Environmental issues
Aircraft - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-hover
Miscellaneous/other

Landing

Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

The pilot reported that, while hovering the helicopter to park between three stationary helicopters, he had been given the signal for a 180 degree "pedal turn" by the ground crew. As the helicopter was about to touchdown, he felt a shudder in the airframe, immediately rolled the throttle closed, and completed an emergency shutdown.

A post-accident examination revealed that the tail rotor blades struck the main blades of a stationary helicopter.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tail rotor and main rotor systems.

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

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor
Age: 45, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
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 Waiver Time Limited Special
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/28/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/22/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 426 hours (Total, all aircraft), 70 hours (Total, this make and model), 287 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BELL
Registration: N205KS
Model/Series: UH 1H NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1965
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate:
Serial Number: SN67-17328
Landing Gear Type: High Skid;
Seats: 5
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 12/27/2017, Continuous Airworthiness
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 9500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:  1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time: 1933.6 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Honeywell
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: T53-703
Registered Owner: USDA FOREST SERVICE FEPP
Rated Power: 1800 hp
Operator: Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Does Business As: Rescue Operations in Montecito, CA
Operator Designator Code: 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KVNY, 770 ft msl
Observation Time: 1651 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 65°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 15°C / 7°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:   10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Light and Variable, Variable
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.19 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Santa Barbara, CA (GOLF)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: Van Nuys, CA (VNY)
Type of Clearance: VFR; VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 0830 PST
Type of Airspace: Class D 

Airport Information

Airport: VAN NUYS (VNY)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 802 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 
VFR Approach/Landing: None 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  34.209722, -118.489722 (est)

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