Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Hughes 530FF Lifter (369FF), N530FU: Fatal accident occurred August 21, 2018 in Granger, Williamson County, Texas

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas 

Rotorcraft hit power lines and crashed into a field. 

Air 1 Sandpoint Helicopters Inc

Date: 21-AUG-18

Time: 17:45:00Z
Regis#: N530FU
Aircraft Make: HUGHES
Aircraft Model: 369FF
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91
State: TEXAS

12:45 p.m. Wednesday update: One of the two people killed Tuesday in a helicopter crash outside Granger was a Jordanian fighter pilot who was on a training flight with an American pilot, Jordanian military officials said in a statement Wednesday.

The officials identified 27-year-old 1st Lt. Ahmed Ali Mohammed Khalif al-Khawaldeh of Amman, Jordan, as one of the two people who died.

The Texas Department of Public Safety later identified the American pilot of the helicopter as 58-year-old Michael Hawley of Dothan, Ala.

Both were pronounced dead at the scene, DPS said.

Jordan would participate in “a joint investigative body” with American officials to look into the cause of the crash, the Jordanian military said. 

Dina Kawar, the Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United States, also sent condolences to friends and loved ones of the pilot on Wednesday.

“Sad to see yet another loss of one of our finest military men who died yesterday in Texas alongside an American pilot. May First Lieutenant, Pilot Ahmad Ali Mohammad (Khalif) al-Khawaldeh RIP,” she said.

Officials with Brunner Aerospace in Georgetown said it was their company’s helicopter that crashed. The flight was supporting a U.S. government contract that provides aviator-training services.

The FAA identified the tail number of the helicopter as N530FU, which is registered to Air 1 Sandpoint Helicopters in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The American-Statesman has requested a full rotorcraft record from the FAA, but had not received it on Wednesday afternoon.

2 p.m. Tuesday update: Two people were killed Tuesday in a fiery helicopter crash in northeastern Williamson County along County Road 346 near Granger, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

The pair were the only ones traveling in the helicopter when it went down about 15 miles east of the Georgetown Municipal Airport after hitting a power line and crashing into a field around 12:45 p.m., Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said in a statement.

The helicopter took off from the airport around 12:15 p.m. on a local flight, Lunsford said.

Federal aviation officials are headed to the scene where the Hughes H369FF helicopter crashed and the National Transportation Safety Board will take over the investigation, Lunsford said.

12:50 p.m. update: A small helicopter with an unknown number of passengers has crashed near an active power line in northeastern Williamson County along County Road 346 near Granger, Sheriff Robert Chody said.

Earlier: Williamson County officials are responding to reports of a possible helicopter crash along County Road 346 near Granger, Sheriff Robert Chody said. 

More information was not immediately available, Chody said.

Original article can be found here ➤

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A member of the Jordanian military and an American pilot were killed in a small helicopter crash in northeast Williamson County Tuesday afternoon, according to the Jordan Armed Forces.

The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the pilot as Michael Hawley, 58, of Dothan, Alabama, and the Jordanian co-pilot as Ahmed Khawaldeah, 27. 

The crash happened next to County Road 346, which is off State Highway 95 between Circleville and Granger, around 12:30 p.m. 

A translated release from the Jordan Army posted Wednesday on its website says First Lt. Ahmed Ali Mohammed Khalif al-Khawaldeh died during a training trip in Texas. A U.S. Army pilot was also killed. The military says it formed a joint investigative body with the U.S. 

The Federal Aviation Administration says the helicopter, a Hughes H369FF, with two people onboard departed from Georgetown airport around 12:15 p.m. and crashed approximately 15 miles east of the airport. 

According to preliminary reports, the helicopter hit a power line and crashed into a cotton field and caught on fire. 

Janet Preston, who lives nearby, said the lights in her bathroom flickered around that same time. She went to her living room and saw a "mushroom cloud" of black smoke rising from the field across the street.

"The first thing you think of is a house fire," Preston said. "We went through the Bastrop fires and so a lot of those homes and fires were so hot that they exploded, and that's what it reminded me of."

Another neighbor, Phillip Wagner, did not witness the crash either, but he walked outside shortly after it happened when he heard sirens. He said he saw heavy black smoke coming from the crash site, and he immediately suspected that an aircraft had crashed. 

"We have a lot of air traffic around here because of the lake. People like to sight-see around it," Wagner said, "but it's unusual to have [a helicopter] flying low like that." 

Neighbors said their thoughts are now with the loved ones of the two people killed aboard the helicopter. 

"My heart goes out to them and the family," Wagner said. "The family's now got to deal with loss, so it's pretty sad."

Several people who work at the Georgetown Municipal Airport told KXAN they knew the two people who were killed in the crash. They say it's a huge loss to their community.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating. 

Story and video ➤

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