Friday, October 19, 2018

Robinson R22 Beta II, registered to Spitzer Helicopter LLC and operated by Helisat LLC, N923SH: Fatal accident occurred October 17, 2018 in Fulton, Callaway County, Missouri

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Kansas City, Missouri
Robinson Helicopters; Torrance, California
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Fulton, MO
Accident Number: CEN19FA009
Date & Time: 10/17/2018, 1421 CDT
Registration: N923SH
Aircraft: Robinson R22
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On October 17, 2018 about 1421 central daylight time, a Robinson R22B helicopter, N923SH, registered to Spitzer Helicopter LLC, Woodland Hills, California, and operated by Helisat LLC, Moscow Mills, Missouri, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Fulton, Missouri. The commercial rated airplane pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area and a flight plan was not filed. The solo cross-country instructional flight was being conducted under the provisions of Federal Code of Regulations Part 91. The flight originated from a private airfield near Moscow Mills, Missouri about 1345 and was enroute to Columbia, Missouri (COU).

According to the operator, the pilot had been under instruction to obtain his rotorcraft rating. The intent of the flight was to fly solo from Moscow Mills and perform touch and go landings at COU. The helicopter impacted terrain enroute to COU. Several witnesses reported that they observed the helicopter flying at low level, turning, and appeared to be in distress. One witness reported smoke coming from the helicopter. There were no distress calls from the pilot.

Initial examination of the wreckage at the accident site showed evidence that the helicopter impacted in a nose-low, left skid down attitude. The helicopter was found in a 6-foot wide, 2-foot deep crater. All components were identified at the accident site. The wreckage was transported to a secure facility in Fulton, Missouri, for detailed examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N923SH
Model/Series: R22 BETA
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: HeliSat LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: COU
Observation Time: 1354 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 20 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C / 2°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 14 knots / , 330°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.42 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Moscow Mills, MO (None)
Destination: Columbia, MO (COU)

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: 38.858889, -91.909444 (est)

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

Charles L. Prather Jr.
November 21, 1970 – October 17, 2018

Charles L. Prather, Jr. 47, passed away suddenly Wednesday, October 17, 2018.

Charlie was the beloved son of Charles Sr. and Joan (nee’ Friedhoff) Prather; the cherished brother of Stephen (Wendee) Prather and Jennifer (Antonio) Contreras; the loving uncle of Madison Dougherty, Emilee Prather, Olivia Prather, Gabrielle Prather, Isabel Contreras, Javier Contreras, and Santiago Contreras; a dear nephew, cousin, and friend to many.

Visitation will be Wednesday, October 24 from 4-8pm at Kriegshauser West Mortuary 9450 Olive Boulevard, St. Louis Missouri 63132. A Memorial Service will be held Thursday October 25 at 10am at the same place. From there we will process to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery escorted by the Patriot Guard Riders, where Charlie will be buried with Full Military Honors.

If desired, contributions to "Wings of Hope" in Charlie's memory are greatly appreciated by his family.

Charles Leonard Prather Sr., Father
Joan Marie (nee' Friedhoff) Prather, Mother
Stephen (Wendee) Prather, Brother
Jennifer (Antonio) Contreras, Sister

Sheriff Clay Chism press conference on fatal helicopter crash. 

CALLAWAY COUNTY, Mo. - Crews on Thursday took some wreckage of a helicopter that crashed in a Callaway County field from the crash site near Fulton.

Callaway County Sheriff Clay Chism said federal authorities will move the wreckage to a secure facility where they can continue the investigation.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the cause of the helicopter crash, which Wednesday. One man was killed in the Wednesday afternoon crash. The Callaway County Sheriff's Office identified the victim as Charles Prather, 47, of St. Peters. Authorities said Prather was the only person on board at the time of the crash.

Deputies found the helicopter at 3:15 p.m. in a remote area near Potawatomi Offroad Park, off Bartley Lane outside of Fulton.

Six federal investigators were at the scene Thursday. 

Several witnesses told deputies on Wednesday that they saw the helicopter in distress and watched it go down.

"The rotor stopped moving, then it tipped and fell," Christopher Banks said. Banks said the helicopter fell about a mile from his home. 

Original article can be found here ➤

Christopher Banks said Wednesday afternoon he was out in his yard on Greystone Drive when he caught glimpse of a helicopter.

Then suddenly, it crashed.

"I was working outside and saw a helicopter, then looked away," he said. "A few seconds later, I heard the rotors stop, and it fell. I called 9-1-1 right away."

Callaway County deputies were notified at 2:28 p.m. that a helicopter crashed, according to Sheriff Clay Chism. The helicopter went down east of Fulton in a remote area north of Bartley Lane, near the Potawatomi Campground.

Rescue helicopters, first responders and deputies responded immediately, but the location of the downed aircraft was not initially visible, Chism said.

An extensive search began with the assistance of the Fulton Police Department, Missouri Highway Patrol (troopers and helicopter), Missouri Department of Conservation, Central Callaway Fire Protection District, Callaway County EMS and the Staff for Life helicopter.

By 3:15 p.m., the crash site was located, and one deceased victim was found.

The victim was identified later Wednesday as Charles Prather, 47, of St. Peters; he was the sole occupant of the aircraft,

Federal investigators are expected to arrive in Callaway County today; the investigation will be transferred to their federal jurisdiction.

Original article can be found here ➤

CALLAWAY COUNTY • A St. Peters man died in a helicopter crash Wednesday just east of Fulton, officials with the Callaway County Sheriff's Office said.

Charles Prather, 47, appears to have been the sole occupant of the rotorcraft.

Police said they responded to calls about a helicopter crash at about 2:30 p.m. and made contact with multiple people who reported seeing a helicopter that appeared to be in distress before it crashed.

Officers with the Callaway County Sheriff's Office searched the area with multiple agencies including Fulton police and the Missouri Highway Patrol, the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Central Callaway Fire Protection District, the Callaway County Ambulance District and a Staff for Life helicopter from MU Healthcare. At about 3:15 p.m. responders located the crash site in a remote area near County Road 108 and County Road 101.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash, as is standard for aviation crashes, officials said. Because of the pending federal investigation, officials said they could not release information about the ownership of the helicopter.

Original article can be found here ➤

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