Saturday, June 23, 2018

Robinson R44 II, N442CF, registered to Alice Environmental Services LP: Accident occurred September 14, 2015 in Alice, Jim Wells County, Texas

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

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/N442CF

Location: Alice, TX
Accident Number: CEN15LA439
Date & Time: 09/14/2015, 1530 CDT
Registration: N442CF
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 14, 2015, about 1530 central daylight time, a Robinson R44 II helicopter, N442CF, registered to Alice Environmental Services LP of Alice, Texas, sustained substantial damage after a hard landing while conducting a practice autorotation maneuver. The local flight was being conducted under the provisions of Federal Aviation Regulations part 91. The commercial pilot and his passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed throughout the area and a flight plan was not filed. The flight had originated from the King Ranch, Alice, Texas, about 1445.

The pilot reported that he was flying the helicopter to practice emergency maneuvers. After two successful power recovery practice autorotations, he was setting up for a third. On the third attempt, he decided to maneuver the helicopter to a specific spot on the ground, flare, then terminate in a hover. He stated that everything went great until the flare. There was a vibration in the rotor, and instantly the pilot tried to power recover, but the "power wasn't there." At this point, the pilot leveled the helicopter and used remaining collective to soften the landing. Upon contacting the ground, the helicopter separated from the skids and rolled onto its side. Both the pilot and the passenger exited the helicopter uninjured.

The passenger stated that the previous two practice autorotations went well. He stated that during the third autorotation, when the pilot he started to throttle up, he did not hear the sound of the engine revving up and the governor taking over. He stated that it felt as if the helicopter wobbled left and right before landing. He stated that the helicopter hit the ground level, bounced, and rolled onto its left side. The rotors made contact with the ground. He had expected to hear the sound of the engine, but he did not.

The FAA inspector that examined the wreckage at the accident site reported that both skids were fractured away from the helicopter. On main rotor blade was fractured in half and the fuselage was buckled. Inspection of the airframe and engine did not reveal any mechanical anomalies with the airframe or engine, other than impact damage.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 35, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 5-point
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Unknown Unknown
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 677 hours (Total, all aircraft), 100 hours (Total, this make and model), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY
Registration: N442CF
Model/Series: R44 II II
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate:
Serial Number: 12200
Landing Gear Type: Ski;
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1308 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-AE1A5
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 235 hp
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: ALI
Observation Time: 1553 CDT
Distance from Accident Site:
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 5000 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C / 19°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots, 80°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.94 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: 
Departure Point: Alice, TX
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Alice, TX
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1445 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class E

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 27.752222, 98.069722 (est)

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