Thursday, February 15, 2018

Robinson R22 Beta, N337H, registered to Spitzer Helicopter and operated by Holy City Helicopters: Accident occurred February 14, 2018 in Charleston, South Carolina

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Columbia, South Carolina

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Spitzer Helicopter LLC:

Location: Charleston, SC
Accident Number: GAA18LA131
Date & Time:
02/14/2018, 1336 EST
Registration: N337H
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On February 14, 2018, about 1336 eastern standard time, a Robinson Helicopters, Inc., R22 Beta, N337H, landed hard in dense vegetation about 5 miles southeast of Charleston International Airport, South Carolina. The flight instructor and student were not injured, and the helicopter sustained substantial damage. The helicopter was registered to Spitzer Helicopter and was being operated by Holy City Helicopters, Charleston, South Carolina, as a visual flight rules (VFR) local instructional flight, under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, and flight following was not in effect.

The flight instructor reported that he had conducted training in the area previously and was familiar with the area, terrain and obstacles. The training was conducted to practice hovering and then transition to forward flight. The student was on the controls during the hover and the transition to forward flight.

The instructor further reported that as the helicopter transitioned through effective translational lift, it climbed above the 15-ft tree line and encountered what he described as a small, white, quadcopter that was at eye level and converging head-on. The instructor took the flight controls and made a hard-right turn and applied aft cyclic input. He then leveled the helicopter, but it began to descend. The helicopter landed hard, and the tailboom separated from the fuselage. The instructor rolled the throttle off, but the helicopter spun to the right and rolled onto its right side. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tail rotor drive shaft.

The investigation is continuing.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: ROBINSON HELICOPTER
Registration: N337H
Model/Series: R22 BETA
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Holy City Helicopters
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCHS, 40 ft msl
Observation Time: 1826 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 35 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C / 12°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2500 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.44 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Charleston, SC (CHS)
Destination: Charleston, SC (CHS) 

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:  32.491389, -79.544444 (est)

DANIEL ISLAND, SC (WCSC) -   Federal authorities are investigating a helicopter crash that happened Wednesday near the southern tip of Daniel Island.

A Robinson R22 helicopter struck a tree and crash-landed Wednesday afternoon, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Kathleen Bergen.

Charleston Police met with the two passengers of the crash later that afternoon, according to an incident report.

The flight instructor told police he is a private helicopter instructor and was giving a lesson to a student pilot at approximately 3:30 p.m. While the student was practicing "low impact and hover taxi maneuvers" above undeveloped land on Daniel Island, they turned and saw a white "DJI Phantom quadcopter" drone headed into their airspace, the report states.

Police say the flight instructor took controls of the helicopter to avoid the drone and while attempting to land, the helicopter's tail rudder struck a small tree, causing him to lose control of the helicopter.

The flight instructor was able to land the helicopter on its rear landing skids but it turned over on its side, the report states.

The flight instructor notified the owner of the helicopter and Federal Aviation Administration investigators. 

The student pilot told police they were about 50 feet above the tree line when the drone entered their fly space. She said when the helicopter struck the tree, several pieces of the helicopter hit surrounding brush causing the helicopter to turn on its side when it landed.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident. 

No injuries were reported. 

Original article can be found here ➤

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