Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Bell 206B, registered to and operated by West Valley Aviation Inc, N211CS: Accident occurred March 01, 2017 in Firebaugh, Fresno County, California

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Fresno, California
Bell; Euless, Texas
Rolls Royce; Indianapolis, Indiana

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/N211CS



Location: Firebaugh, CA
Accident Number: WPR17LA071
Date & Time: 03/01/2017, 1030 PST
Registration: N211CS
Aircraft: BELL 206B
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural 

On March 1, 2017, about 1030 Pacific standard time, a Bell 206B helicopter, N211CS, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Firebaugh, California. The commercial pilot was not injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by West Valley Aviation Inc., under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local aerial application flight, which originated from a nearby staging area about 1 minute prior to the accident.

The pilot reported that during an agricultural aerial application flight, he was flying about 5 ft over the crop at an airspeed of 70 mph, when he heard a loud bang followed by a loss of engine power. The helicopter shook violently as he rolled down the throttle twist-grip to the detent stop. As he reached over with his right hand to press the throttle detent switch, he inadvertently rolled on the throttle slightly and heard the engine begin to spool up in RPM, at which time he was able to reach the throttle detent switch to close the throttle. An autorotation was executed and upon touchdown in a freshly plowed soft field, the main rotor blade struck the tailboom and the helicopter came to rest upright.

The pilot stated that he had refueled the helicopter about 20 minutes prior to the accident with 20 to 25 gallons of fuel. He estimated that at the time of the accident, he had about 10 gallons of fuel on board.

Postaccident examination of the helicopter by the pilot revealed that the tailboom was separated forward of the tail rotor gearbox. The helicopter was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Examination of the helicopter by representatives of Bell Helicopter and Rolls Royce under the supervision of a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that when power was applied to the helicopter, the fuel quantity gauge indicated about 15 gallons of fuel. The fuel tank was drained and contained about 6.5 gallons of fuel. When the fuel was poured into the fuel tank, the fuel quantity gauge displayed about 6 gallons. The forward boost pump was found operational; however, the aft boost pump was inoperative. No preimpact anomalies were observed with the main rotor assembly, main rotor drive system, or flight controls.

The engine was removed and subsequently sent to Keystone Aviation for further examination. The engine was installed on a test stand and subsequently run. Throughout 6 test runs, the engine appeared to run normally with the exception of various chip detector lights throughout about 33 minutes of total run time. The engine was disassembled to gain access to the gearbox. Damage was noted to the forward face of the separator on the #3 bearing, which could have been sustained during replacement of the double lip seal with a single lip seal to accommodate the engine test run. No additional anomalies were noted with the engine.

Examination of the fuel pump revealed that the thermal fuse was open consistent with over-heating. Representatives from Parker Hannifin stated that the fuel pump thermal fuse is designed to shut power off to the fuel pump when the fuel pump casing builds excess heat due to being run without fluid (fuel).

The Bell Helicopter Flight Manual, section 3, page 3-8, states "Due to possible fuel sloshing in unusual attitudes or out of trim conditions, and one or both fuel pumps inoperative, the unusable fuel is ten gallons.



Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 46, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-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: 10/19/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  4599 hours (Total, all aircraft), 4200 hours (Total, this make and model), 4559 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 160 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 100 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3.7 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BELL
Registration: N211CS
Model/Series: 206B B
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1979
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Restricted; Normal
Serial Number: 2775
Landing Gear Type: Skid;
Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/22/2017, Continuous Airworthiness
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3201 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 20 Hours
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: ROLLS-ROYCE
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 250-C20B
Registered Owner: WEST VALLEY AVIATION INC
Rated Power: 420 hp
Operator: WEST VALLEY AVIATION INC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural Aircraft (137) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMAE, 253 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 18 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1853 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 69°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.42 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 12°C / 5°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Firebaugh, CA
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Firebaugh, CA
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1029 PST
Type of Airspace:  Class G

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:  36.881389, -120.466389 (est)



NTSB Identification: WPR17LA071
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 01, 2017 in Firebaugh, CA
Aircraft: BELL 206B, registration: N211CS
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 March 1, 2017, about 1030 Pacific standard time, a Bell 206B, N211CS, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Firebaugh, California. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the helicopter, was not injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by West Valley Aviation Inc., under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local aerial application flight, which originated from a nearby staging area about 1 minute prior to the accident.

The pilot reported that during an agricultural aerial application flight, he was flying about 5 feet over the crop at an airspeed of 70 mph, when he heard a loud bang followed by a loss of engine power. He executed an autorotation and upon touchdown in a freshly plowed soft field, the main rotor blade struck the tailboom and the helicopter came to rest upright.  Postaccident examination of the helicopter by the pilot revealed that the tailboom was separated forward of the tailrotor gearbox. The helicopter was recovered to a secure location for further examination.















1 comment:

Richard Black said...

Sure looks different than when I picked it up at Bell in 1979.