Monday, July 02, 2018

Robinson R22, N787SH, registered to Concho Aviation LLC: Accident occurred June 29, 2018 in Sterling City, Texas

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Sterling City, TX
Accident Number: CEN18FA244
Date & Time: 06/29/2018, 2010 CDT
Registration: N787SH
Aircraft: Robinson R22
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Other Work Use 

On June 29, 2018, about 2010 central daylight time, a Robinson helicopter, N787SH, registered to Concho Aviation LLC, of Sterling City, Texas, was destroyed when it impacted the ground for undetermined reasons while on landing approach to its home base of operations in Sterling, Texas. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The flight was being conducted under the provisions Federal Code of Regulations Part 91. The flight originated about 1958 from a work location on the McEntire Ranch, Sterling City, Texas.

A witness stated that she saw the helicopter on a normal approach to its home base landing site (a helicopter transport trailer parked into the wind). As the helicopter approached the trailer, into the wind, about 5-feet above the trailer, it backed off the approach and began to spin. The helicopter climbed to about 20-25 feet while spinning to the left. The witness heard a noise similar to a rapid reduction of engine power and the helicopter impacted the ground. There was no evidence of contact with obstructions during the approach and no radio distress calls from the experienced pilot. A company pilot reported that the wind was about 10-12 knots from the south about the time of the accident. After initial examinations of the engine, airframe, and flight controls, the helicopter and on board components were transported to secure facilities for additional examinations.

The helicopter had flown a previous flight of about 3.7 hours duration on the morning of the accident. The pilot of that flight did not report any anomalies with the helicopter. The helicopter was configured with single pilot flight controls on the right side, and the left side pilot controls (pedals, collective, cyclic) were not installed. Three ammunition cans containing tools and several loose shotgun (discharged and undischarged) shells were present within the wreckage area. The operator stated that the helicopter was routinely utilized in cattle roundup and predator mitigation operations.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N787SH
Model/Series: R22 BETA
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Concho Aviation LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time: 2030 CDT
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 95°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / 3 knots, 180°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 1000 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 31.860000, -101.086111 (est)

Sterling City pilot Ewing Fowler “Mackey” McEntire, 66, died in a helicopter crash Friday, June 29, 2018, about 5 miles west of Sterling City.

According to a report from the Department of Public Safety, McEntire lowered his Robinson R22 close to a trailer, then rose back up in the air. An eyewitness apparently heard a loud popping sound from the aircraft, which then crashed on its right side.

Sterling County rancher Frank S. Price memorialized McEntire on Facebook, saying he was important to firefighters and ranchers in part because he could get in the air to spot fires in a unique and effective way.

"He had an amazing ability to see the fire with an experienced eye and be able to quickly coordinate personnel and equipment, directing them to the area most effective for fire suppression," Price said. "This created issues within other fire control-suppression agencies (Texas Forest Service, US Forest Service and sometimes other surrounding County officials) as those ‘outsiders’ many times did not understand how Sterling County’s coordinated efforts with Volunteer Fire departments, ranchers and Mackey in the air worked."

Price also said McEntire helped develop the radio system used by most firefighters, ranchers and law enforcement members in the area and communicated with them in a way that made them want to listen and respond.

"When Mackey’s positive-commanding-calm voice was heard on the radio, everyone listened," Price said. "He wasn’t ‘barking’ orders, just instructing, and it was very effective."

Price also gave an example of just how good McEntire was at communicating with them.

"Once on the second day of a large wildfire, the main body of the fire had been suppressed and clean-up of smaller fires was in process," Price wrote. "Mackey had landed to talk to VFDs, ranchmen and law enforcement personnel. A plan was made as to how to finish extinguishing the fire. No one was dominant in the discussion, just concise information and thought passed among the group."

According to his obituary, McEntire started up Concho Aviation in 1982, and the company now serves Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

McEntire served on many local and district boards. He was also a Scottish Rite Mason at the Masonic Lodge in Sterling City. He was a member of First United Methodist Church in Sterling City and was involved in many committees.

The funeral for McEntire was Tuesday in Sterling City.

People can send memorials to Sterling City's First United Methodist Church or the Children’s Medical Center Foundation, 2777 Stemmons Freeway, Suite 700, Dallas, TX 75207.

Ewing F. (Mackey) McEntire


Ewing F. "Mackey" McEntire, Jr. was born to Sallie Ann Heath McEntire and Ewing Fowler "Mack" McEntire in Colorado City, Texas on May 27, 1952. He was raised on the family ranch in Sterling County until graduating in 1970 from Sterling High School. From Sterling City, he endured a single semester at Texas A&M University before transferring to Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. He graduated as a proud Red Raider in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in Agricultural Economics and Education with a minor in Entemology. Mackey moved back to Sterling County to operate the family ranch with his grandfather, Fowler McEntire. In 1975, he married Mary Catherine "Cathy" McEntire. Together, Mackey and Cathy raised four daughters, Ginny, Julie, Monica, and Mary Ann. 

Mackey had a passion for aviation. In 1982, he began a helicopter service business called Concho Aviation-one of the first businesses of its kind in West Texas. Concho Aviation grew into a multi-pilot, multi-helicopter business operation serving clients throughout the states of Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Over the course of his career, Mackey accumulated over 50,000 hours of flight time. That is equivalent to 5.7 years in the air.

Mackey was an active member of his community serving on many local county and district boards. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Sterling City where he frequently served as the worshipful master and a Scottish Rite Mason. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Sterling City, Texas where he was involved in multiple committees.

Mackey McEntire went to be with his Lord on June 29, 2018. He was preceded in death by his parents and by his daughter Mary Ann McEntire. He is survived by his wife of 43 years Cathy, his daughter Ginny McMinn and her husband Brad McMinn, his daughter Julie Thomason and her husband B.J. Thomason, his daughter Monica Peters and her husband Greg Peters, his sister Pam Hinkle and her husband Howard Hinkle, his sister Melanie Andrews and her husband Pearce Andrews, and his grandchildren Dyllan Mackenzie McMinn, Jordan Peters, Denver McMinn, and Hailey Ewing Peters. Pallbearers are Jack Clark, Gary Foster, Josh Gaines, Cliff Caldwell, Tony Allen, Mitch Brinninstool, Mike Bodine, and J. Fred Hambright.

Mackey McEntire was an extraordinary individual whose accomplishments and character cannot be adequately encapsulated in a short obituary. He made us laugh every day. He amazed us with his many talents and his breadth of knowledge. He was a man of great faith who deeply loved God and who, in his quiet way, always led us to the Throne of Grace. He loved his family extravagantly. And he was loved beyond measure by his wife, children, grandchildren, family members, and countless dear friends. His absence will be profoundly felt until we meet again in Glory. We love you, Daddy. 

Visitation will take place at the First United Methodist Church of Sterling City, Texas on Monday, July 1, 2018 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The funeral service will occur at the First United Methodist Church of Sterling City, Texas on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers memorials may be sent to the First United Methodist Church of Sterling City, Texas or by mail or by phone to the Children's Medical Center Foundation, 2777 Stemmons Fwy., Ste. 700, Dallas, Texas 75207.

No comments:

Post a Comment