Monday, February 26, 2018

Robinson R44 II, N630ML, registered to and operated by Flying M Air LLC: Accident occurred February 24, 2018 at Yolo County Airport (KDWA), Davis, California

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Woodland, CA
Accident Number: GAA18CA140
Date & Time: 02/24/2018, 0500 PST
Registration: N630ML
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Unknown or undetermined
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business 

The helicopter pilot reported that during and early morning flight, the visibility was good, but it was still dark.

The helicopter pilot reported that the helicopter climbed to about 300ft above ground level and she noticed that her iPad was not showing her location. While attempting to fix the iPad, she inadvertently pushed the cyclic forward. She reported that when she re-focused her attention outside the helicopter, impact was imminent, and the helicopter impacted trees. The helicopter came to rest on its left side facing the opposite direction of travel.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and the both rotor systems.

The pilot reported in the Recommendation section of the National Transportation Board Pilot Aircraft Accident Report, that the accident could have been prevented by not allowing herself to become distracted during flight.

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

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 56, Female
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/30/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/19/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 3620 hours (Total, all aircraft), 2400 hours (Total, this make and model), 3500 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 8.6 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 5.5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0.1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N630ML
Model/Series: R44 II
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2005
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 10603
Landing Gear Type: Skid;
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/17/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2154.9 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-F1B5
Registered Owner: FLYING M AIR LLC
Rated Power: 245 hp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Commercial Air Tour (136); On-demand Air Taxi (135)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Dawn
Observation Facility, Elevation: KEDU, 69 ft msl
Observation Time: 1300 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 4 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 144°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: -1°C / -7°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots, 170°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.38 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Woodland, CA
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0500 PST
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude:  38.593056, -121.838889 (est)

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