Thursday, January 25, 2018

Robinson R44, N99RW, registered to and operated by Atlas Aviation LP: Accident occurred December 05, 2017 at Treasure Coast International Airport (KFPR), Fort Pierce, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Atlas Aviation LP:

Location: Fort Pierce, FL
Accident Number: GAA18CA072
Date & Time: 12/05/2017, 1315 EST
Registration: N99RW
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


The helicopter pilot reported that, while hovering to land on a helipad, the tail struck the ground. He added that the helicopter landed hard and rolled over onto the left side.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, main rotor blades, and tail boom.

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

A review of recorded data from the automated weather observation station located on the airport reported that, about 20 minutes before the accident, the wind was from 130° at 10 knots. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's improper landing flare, which resulted in a tail strike and hard landing.


Landing flare - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Wind - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight


Hard landing

Roll over

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 77, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/16/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 2300 hours (Total, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: ROBINSON HELICOPTER
Registration: N99RW
Model/Series: R44 UNDESIGNATED
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2000
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 0793
Landing Gear Type: Skid;
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/24/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2559 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-540-F1
Registered Owner: ATLAS AVIATION LP
Rated Power: 225 hp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KFPR, 24 ft msl
Observation Time: 1753 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 306°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 3000 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 19°C
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots, 130°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: BOCA RATON, FL (BCT)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Fort Pierce, FL (FPR)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1200 EST
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 23 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 27.492222, -80.368056 (est)

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