Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Airbus Helicopters EC 130 T2, N22TZ, regisited to Kestrel Holdings LLC and operated by Richardson Aviation: Accident occurred October 26, 2017 in La Paloma, Cameron County, Texas

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas

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/N22TZ


Analysis 

According to the pilot in the public helicopter, he was conducting a wildlife antipredation flight and maneuvering at a low altitude with two net gunners located on the left and right in the aft cabin. The pilot reported that he entered a left bank to pursue a deer. The deer was located "between our 8 and 9 o'clock position, and the net gunner made the net shot at the deer." The pilot observed the net miss the deer and simultaneously heard an unusual "whooshing noise" coming from the helicopter. He made a precautionary landing, and during the shutdown, he noticed what he described as an unusual discoloration of the main rotor disc.

Examination of the main rotor blades revealed that one of the blades had a large hole in it, about 5 ft from the blade tip. The net that was fired at the deer was recovered and was found to be missing one of the weights that are normally attached to the net's corners.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to a main rotor blade.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures 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 separation of a weight from the gunner's net, which struck the helicopter's main rotor blade during flight.

Findings

Environmental issues
Debris/dirt/foreign object - Effect on operation (Cause)
Positioning/available space - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-low-alt flying
Miscellaneous/other (Defining event)

Part(s) separation from AC

Location: La Paloma, TX
Accident Number: GAA18CA034
Date & Time: 10/26/2017, 0840 CDT
Registration: N22TZ
Aircraft: AIRBUS HELICOPTERS EC 130
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Air Drop 

According to the pilot in the public use helicopter, he was conducting a wildlife anti-depredation flight, and maneuvering at a low altitude with two net gunners located on the left and right in the aft cabin.

The pilot reported that he entered a left bank in pursuit of a deer. The deer was located, "between our 8 and 9 o'clock position, and the net gunner made the net shot at the deer."

The pilot observed the net miss the deer and simultaneously heard an unusual "whooshing noise" coming from the helicopter. He made a precautionary landing, and during the shutdown, he noticed what he described as an unusual discoloration of the main rotor disc.

An examination of the main rotor blades showed that one of the blades had a large hole in it, about 5ft from the blade tip. The net that was fired at the deer was recovered and was found to be missing one of the weights that are normally attached to the corners of the net.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to a main rotor blade.

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

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 51, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s):  Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Helicopter; Instrument Airplane; Instrument Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/20/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/20/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 8411 hours (Total, all aircraft), 344 hours (Total, this make and model), 8243 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 75 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 9 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: AIRBUS HELICOPTERS
Registration: N22TZ
Model/Series: EC 130 T2
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Restricted; Normal
Serial Number: 8016
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 3
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/11/2017, Unknown
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 5351 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time: 585.1 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Safran Helicopter Engines
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: Arriel 2D
Registered Owner: KESTREL HOLDINGS LLC
Rated Power: 952
Operator: Richardson Aviation
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KNQI, 58 ft msl
Observation Time: 0156 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 24 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 20°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 17°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots, 150°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.81 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Riviera, TX
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Riviera, TX
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0810 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 3 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 None
Latitude, Longitude:  27.130000, -97.970000 (est)

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