Saturday, May 19, 2018

Robinson R44, N7085M: Accident occurred November 06, 2017 in Larchwood, Lyon County, Iowa


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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Iowa

Aviation Accident Factual 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/N7085M

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Larchwood, IA
Accident Number: CEN18LA025
Date & Time: 11/06/2017, 1310 CST
Registration: N7085M
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R44
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Aerial Observation 

On November 6, 2017, about 1310 central standard time, a Robinson Helicopter R44 helicopter, N7085M, was substantially damaged when it impacted powerlines and then terrain 4.5 miles south of Larchwood, Iowa. The commercial pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries. The aerial observation flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan had been filed for the flight. The local flight departed about 1300.

According to the passenger and witnesses on the ground, the helicopter was assisting in locating and herding 300 cattle that were loose in the area. The helicopter was assisting the ground team to push the cattle towards an open gate directly beneath powerlines. Witnesses on the ground observed the helicopter hovering and as it started to turn, the "tail" of the helicopter hit the powerlines. The helicopter descended to the ground and came to rest on its right side in a corn field. Several witnesses and the passenger stated that the helicopter looked and sounded normal prior to the impact.

A video of the accident taken by another witness on the ground showed the helicopter maneuvering near the powerlines, with the nose of the helicopter facing away from the powerlines. The tail of the helicopter impacted the powerlines, followed by the main rotor blades. The helicopter rotated once before impacting the ground.

According to a FAA inspector who responded to the accident, the tailboom separated from the fuselage and both main rotors were substantially damaged. An examination of the helicopter, engine, and remaining systems revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operations.

An official weather observation taken 18 miles northwest of the accident site reported the weather as wind 060° at 7 knots, visibility 1.5 miles in light snow, overcast skies at 2,300 ft above ground level, temperature -1° C, dewpoint temperature -4°C, and an altimeter of 30.26 inches of mercury. The witnesses on the ground at the accident site characterized the weather as overcast, windy, unlimited visibility, and no precipitation.

At the writing of this report, the pilot had no recollection of the accident or the events that led up to the accident. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 45, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 09/26/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/15/2017
Flight Time: (Estimated) 5200 hours (Total, all aircraft), 5000 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: ROBINSON HELICOPTER
Registration: N7085M
Model/Series: R44
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1998
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 0430
Landing Gear Type: Skid;
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/15/2017, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection: 38.6 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2042.8 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT:
Engine Model/Series: O-540-F185
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 250 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KFSD
Observation Time: 1256 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 18 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 310°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Temperature/Dew Point: -1°C / -4°C
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 2300 ft agl
Visibility:  1.5 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots, 60°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.26 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: Light - Snow
Departure Point: Larchwood, IA
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Larchwood, IA
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1300 CST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious
Latitude, Longitude:  43.382222, -96.439167



NTSB Identification: CEN18LA025
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, November 06, 2017 in Larchwood, IA
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R44, registration: N7085M
Injuries: 2 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On November 6, 2017, about 1310 central standard time, a Robinson Helicopter R44 helicopter, N7085M, was substantially damaged when it impacted a powerline and then terrain 4.5 miles south of Larchwood, Iowa. The commercial pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries. The aerial observation flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Marginal visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan had been filed for the flight. The local flight departed about 1300.

According to law enforcement officers, the helicopter was assisting in locating 300 cattle that were loose in the area. Witness on the ground observed the helicopter hovering and as it started to turn the "tail" of the helicopter hit the power lines. The helicopter descended to the ground and came to rest on its right side in a corn field. The tailboom separated from the fuselage and both main rotors were substantially damaged.

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