Friday, April 20, 2018

Robinson R44 II, N511CC, registered to Godspeed Leasing LLC and operated by the pilot: Accident occurred April 19, 2018 at Chena Marina Airport, Fairbanks, Alaska

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fairbanks, Alaska

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Fairbanks, AK
Accident Number: ANC18LA032
Date & Time: 04/19/2018, 1600 AKD
Registration: N511CC
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On April 19, 2018, about 1600 Alaska daylight time, a tundra/snow board-equipped Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter, N511CC, impacted trees and a snowbank while conducting a hover turn at the Chena Marina Airport, Fairbanks, Alaska. The private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained no injury and the helicopter sustained substantial damage. The helicopter was registered to Godspeed Leasing, LLC, Fairbanks, and was operated by the pilot under the provision of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a visual flight rules personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The helicopter lifted off from the helicopter landing pad about 1600.

In a conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge on April 19, the pilot reported the purpose of the flight was to fly to a remote cabin. Prior to bringing the helicopter to a hover, he received the automatic terminal information system (ATIS) information from the Fairbanks International Airport, Fairbanks, which stated the wind direction originated from 340 degrees. The pilot was unable to recall the wind speed that ATIS was stating. The pilot picked up the helicopter, which was facing to the west, from the unmarked asphalt pad surrounded by gravel, to a 10-foot above ground level hover profile. He further reported that the pad was located "close to trees," in front of a hangar that the helicopter is kept in. The pilot then executed a hovering turn to the south, with the intent of facing the east. He reported that as the helicopter was turning, a gust of wind from the northeast "pushed" the helicopter into the trees. The main rotor blades impacted various spruce and birch trees and the helicopter subsequently impacted a snowbank near the trees and the ground. The pilot was able to egress without further incident. The wreckage was recovered and transported to the pilot's hangar.

Two Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspectors from the Fairbanks Flight Standards District Office responded to the accident site on April 19 to interview the pilot, photograph the wreckage, and measure the dimensions of the pad and the surrounding area.

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

The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The pad utilized, along with the Chena Marina Airport, are private use facilities. The Robinson R-44 II Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH) states that for the main rotor system, the radius is 16.5 feet and the diameter is 33 feet. The POH further states that from the front of the fuselage to the end of the tail rotor system guard, the length is 29.41 feet.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N511CC
Model/Series: R44 II
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PAFA, 432 ft msl
Observation Time: 2353 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 3°C / -11°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 20000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 12 knots, 350°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.44 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Fairbanks, AK (AK28)
Destination: Unknown, AK (None)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 64.813889, -147.921944 (est)

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