Monday, August 20, 2018

Hughes 369D, registered to Helicopters Unlimited and operated by Western Helicopters Inc, N105JL: Accident occurred August 17, 2018 at Riverside Municipal Airport (KRAL), 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; Riverside, California

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location:  Riverside, CA
Accident Number: WPR18LA226
Date & Time: 08/17/2018, 1050 PDT
Registration: N105JL
Aircraft: Hughes 369
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On August 17, 2018, about 1050 Pacific daylight time, a Hughes 369D helicopter, N105JL, was substantially damaged following a hard landing during a practice autorotation at Riverside Municipal Airport (RAL), Riverside, California. The certified flight instructor received minor injuries and the pilot receiving instruction was seriously injured. The helicopter was registered to Helicopters Unlimited, La Crescenta, California, and operated by Western Helicopters, Inc., Riverside, California, in accordance with Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological condition prevailed for the local instructional flight, which departed RAL about 1030, and no flight plan was filed.

In a statement submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge, the certified flight instructor reported that after he and the student had both performed several uneventful power recovery autorotations, he advised the student that the next evolution would be a full touch down, 180o autorotation. The instructor stated that during the maneuver the helicopter was turning back to the runway slower than he wanted it to. When he realized that they were going to be short of the intended landing zone, he advanced the throttle to make a power recovery, but the descent was greater than anticipated. The instructor opined that he then told the student to level the skids, and that he was on the controls to assist him. Subsequently, the helicopter landed hard, which resulted in the tail boom separating and the main rotor blades contacting the ground. The helicopter then spun around to the right, during which the student was ejected from the helicopter. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Hughes
Registration: N105JL
Model/Series: 369 D
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Western Helicopters Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held:  Pilot School (141); Commuter Air Carrier (135); Rotorcraft External Load (133)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: RAL, 818 ft msl
Observation Time: 1102 PDT
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 19°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 12000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , Variable
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 9 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Riverside, CA (RAL)
Destination: Riverside, CA (RAL)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 33.930833, -117.447500

Riverside Police Department

August 17 at 3:14 PM · 


Just before 11:00 a.m. this morning, the Riverside Police & Fire Dispatch Center received a call from the flight tower at the Riverside Municipal Airport (KRAL) regarding a helicopter making a hard landing on one of the runways.

The privately owned helicopter had two occupants. One occupant was medically evaluated at the scene with only minor injuries. The second occupant appeared to have been ejected from the helicopter upon landing. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

A rotor blade and the tail rotor did break off but there was no apparent fire or fuel spill as a result of the hard landing. The aircraft was rendered safe and the airport is making their notifications to the proper investigating agencies. Any further inquiries should be directed to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and/or National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

A passenger was hospitalized August 17th, after a helicopter made a hard landing on a Riverside Municipal Airport runway – ejecting the man and breaking off parts of the aircraft, Riverside police said.

Taylor Herrly, 20, was cleaning his work van at nearby Lou’s Lock & Safe when he saw the helicopter come in for landing.

After at least one failed attempt, Herrly said, the helicopter came down hard and struck the ground tail first. A man, later determined to be the passenger, was ejected.

Another man, the pilot, looked to be momentarily knocked out and was being tossed around like a “rag doll,” he said, because the helicopter’s engine was still running. The pilot, Herrly said, turned off the engine then immediately attended to the injured man lying on the ground.

Riverside police Officer Ryan Railsback confirmed a passenger was seriously injured after apparently being tossed from the helicopter. His condition was not known.

The impact caused the tail of the helicopter to break off and land about a dozen feet from the body of the helicopter, Herrly said, and a blade was launched over an airport fence, landing in front of a nearby business complex.

“Around 11 a.m. today, a Hughes MD500 D helicopter was performing flight training auto gyros when it hit hard at Riverside,” said Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Firefighter personnel took the passenger to an area hospital after evaluating both men.

An instructor and a student were on board, the Riverside Fire Department said.

The cause of the hard landing was not immediately clear. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.

Original article can be found here ➤ 

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