Monday, March 12, 2018

Hughes 369D, registered to HLH Holdings LLC and operated by High Line Helicopters LLC, N499SL: Accident occurred March 07, 2018 in Blair, Trempealeau County, Wisconsin

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Aviation Accident Factual - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Blair, WI
Accident Number: CEN18LA121
Date & Time: 03/07/2018, 1400 CST
Registration: N499SL
Aircraft: HUGHES 369D
Aircraft Damage: None
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 133: Rotorcraft Ext. Load 

On March 7, 2018, about 1400 central standard time, a Hughes 369D helicopter, transporting a powerline worker via a long line, was involved in an accident near Blair, Wisconsin, when the worker contacted the powerlines and received serious injuries. The helicopter was not damaged and the pilot received no injuries. The helicopter was registered to HLH Holdings, LLC, and was operated by High Line Helicopters, LLC, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 133 as a Rotorcraft External-Load Operation. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not on a flight plan. The local flight had just originated when the accident occurred.

The pilot reported that the purpose of the flight was to lift a utility lineman using the helicopter so that the lineman could install components in conjunction with a new powerline project. He stated that once the lineman hooked up to the long line he proceeded to lift the lineman up to a nearby structure but the lineman contacted an existing powerline. The lineman was subsequently set back on the ground to await emergency services. The lineman suffered severe injuries as a result of the accident.. The pilot reported that the powerline that the lineman struck was not visible from the pilot's perspective until it was too late to correct course. He also reported as a recommendation: "Better recognition of hazards and obstructions while performing external load operations."

The weather conditions reported at a nearby airport included a broken ceiling at 3,700 ft above the ground, 10 miles visibility and no precipitation.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 30, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s):  Helicopter; Instrument Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/05/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  5350 hours (Total, all aircraft), 3900 hours (Total, this make and model), 5250 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 300 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 100 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: HUGHES
Registration: N499SL
Model/Series: 369D D
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1979
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 190448D
Landing Gear Type: High Skid
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/24/2018, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3000 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:  Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time: 18746 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Rolls Royce
Engine Model/Series: C20B
Registered Owner: HLH HOLDINGS LLC
Rated Power: 420 hp
Operator: High Line Helicopters
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Rotorcraft External Load (133)
Operator Does Business As:
Operator Designator Code: 4HLL

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: BCK
Distance from Accident Site: 17 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1355 CST
Direction from Accident Site: 100°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 3700 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 9 knots / 14 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 290°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.98 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: -2°C / -12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:  No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Blair, WI
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Blair, WI
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  CST
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 None
Aircraft Damage:None
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 None

Latitude, Longitude:  44.304444, -91.000000

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