Monday, May 14, 2018

Bell OH-58C, N82857, registered to and operated by Tri-Rotor AG Services: Accident occurred May 12, 2018 in Somerton, Yuma County, Arizona

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

Additional participating entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale, Arizona

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Yuma, AZ

Accident Number: WPR18LA140
Date & Time: 05/11/2018, 2030 MST
Registration: N82857
Aircraft: BELL OH 58C
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural 

On May 11, 2018, about 2030 mountain standard time, a Bell OH-58C helicopter, N82857, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Yuma, Arizona. The commercial pilot was not injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Tri-Rotor AG Services under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 as an aerial application flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The flight originated from a private airstrip in Somerton, Arizona at 1945.

According to the pilot, he picked up his first load of the evening, and then departed to the north to distribute chemical insecticide to three separate fields. He distributed the insecticide over the first field by flying east to west. After he completed the first pass, he climbed momentarily and started a turn, but immediately felt a vibration that he perceived was coming from the main rotor system. Seconds later, the low rotor rpm light indication illuminated, which was accompanied by multiple other warning lights that the pilot was unable to observe due to his workload at the time. He further added that the low rotor rpm light was engaged for the remainder of the flight. The helicopter began to descend on its own, and as it approached the ground, the pilot flared the helicopter to reduce its vertical speed. After the helicopter landed flat in a bed of sudangrass, the main rotor blades severed the tailboom, the left skid dug into the ground and the helicopter rolled over on its nose and then came to rest on its right side.

The wreckage has been retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BELL

Registration: N82857
Model/Series: OH 58C NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural Aircraft (137) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions

Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: NYL, 213 ft msl
Observation Time: 1957 MST
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C / 3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots, 160°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.63 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Somerton, AZ (PRIV)
Destination: Somerton, AZ (PRIV) 

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:  32.686111, -114.723889

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