Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Robinson R44 Raven II, N423ML, registered to and operated by Big Blue Corp. Inc: Accident occurred April 30, 2018 in Borrego Springs, San Diego County, California

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

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

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


Location: Borrego Springs, CA
Accident Number: WPR18LA133
Date & Time: 04/30/2018, 1355 PDT
Registration: N423ML
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II
Injuries: 4 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business 

On April 30, 2018, at 1355 Pacific daylight time, a Robinson Helicopter Company R44 II helicopter, N423ML, sustained substantial damage subsequent to a precautionary landing near Borrego Springs, California. The airline transport pilot and 3 passengers were not injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Big Blue Corp. Inc. as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 business flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Rams Hill Golf Club, Borrego Springs, California about 1350.

According to the pilot, the flight from Palm Springs International Airport (PSP), Palm Springs, California, to the golf course to pick up his passengers was uneventful. After departing from the golf course, the pilot heard a loud bang and decided to make a precautionary landing. The pilot stated that during the precautionary landing, he had a headwind and the landing should have been uneventful. However, about 15 ft above the ground (agl), the wind shifted, and the helicopter landed hard, coming to rest on its side.

The helicopter was recovered and moved to secure storage for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY
Registration: N423ML
Model/Series: R44 II II
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: BIG BLUE CORP INC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPSP, 409 ft msl
Observation Time: 1953 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 38 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 6°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 19 knots/ 28 knots, 320°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.84 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Borrego Springs, CA
Destination: PALM SPRINGS, CA (PSP)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 3 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 None
Latitude, Longitude: 33.220278, -116.276667 (est)



A privately chartered helicopter crashed in the badlands, at the eastern end of Borrego Springs Monday April 30, the four passengers suffered minor injuries.

The pilot made an emergency landing, after the engine stopped, and with wind gusts of about 30 mph, caught the chopper as it was attempting to land. The tail rotor hit the ground breaking off, and the helicopter landed on its right side.

At around 1:30 p.m., the Borrego Springs Fire District received a call that a helicopter had crashed. Fire units, paramedics, sheriffs, park rangers and MERCY aircrews were on the scene.

The passengers on the Robinson R-44 helicopter were coming from Rams Hill after a round of golf, heading back to Palm Springs when the crash occurred. The pilot did a great job of minimizing the impact. The names of the pilot and passengers has not yet been released.

The three passengers were taken to the hospital with neck braces and minor injuries, flying out of the Borrego Valley Airport. The pilot, who refused medical treatment, stayed behind with the helicopter.

They are currently unsure as of when the helicopter will be removed from the site.

The helicopter is registered to Big Blue, a tour company based in Palm Springs.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are currently investigating the crash.

Since Jan. 1 2000, there have been 165 people killed in 96 crashes involving Robinson helicopters in the United States, according to NTSB records.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.borregosun.com

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