Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Robinson R44, registered to Higgins Leasing Inc and operated by Novictor Aviation, N4132H: Accident occurred October 22, 2018 in Kaneohe, Hawaii

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Honolulu, Hawaii

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


Location: Kaneohe, HI
Accident Number: WPR19LA013
Date & Time: 10/22/2018, 1710 HST
Registration: N4132H
Aircraft: Robinson R44
Injuries: 3 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business - Sightseeing 

On October 22, 2018, about 1710 Hawaiian standard time, a Robinson R44 helicopter, N4132H, was substantially damaged during a hard landing on the Kaneohe Sandbar, a large area of sand covered by shallow water, located in Kaneohe Bay, near Kaneohe, Hawaii. The commercial pilot and two passengers sustained serious injuries. The helicopter was registered to Higgins Leasing Inc. and operated by Novictor Aviation under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an air tour flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, and a company flight plan was filed. The helicopter originated from Honolulu International Airport, Honolulu, Hawaii at 1647, and was planned to complete a 45-minute circle island route flight.

In a statement from the pilot, about 20 minutes into the flight he felt himself lose consciousness; moments later he regained consciousness and control of the helicopter. The pilot changed course from following along the coast to turning towards the coast, then prepared himself for a precautionary landing. Seconds later he lost consciousness again, then woke up from the actions of the first responders. The pilot remembers being in a dream-like state during his loss of consciousness, and in the dream-like state, he was piloting the helicopter and knew that he was in an emergency situation. Although he didn't know what the emergency was, he remembers not quite seeing the instruments and that it was important that he not let go of the helicopter controls. The passengers stated in an interview, that they remember the pilot slumping over during the flight, and the front seat passenger grabbing the controls to slow the descent before impacting the sandbar.

The pilot began working for the operator in May 2018 and has not had any medical problems since that time. The pilot possessed a current second-class airman medical with no restrictions. The pilot accumulated 1,451 total flight hours in the make and model and 273 flight hours in the make and model in the last 90 days.

The helicopter landed on a sandbar in about 2 ft of water and came to rest on its left side. The main rotor mast was bent forward, both skids had impact damage and the tailboom was bent to one side. The wreckage was relocated the next day to a secured location for examination.

The helicopter, which was manufactured and registered to the owner in 2015, was equipped with a Lycoming O-540-F1B5 series engine.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N4132H
Model/Series: R44 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Novictor Aviation
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Commercial Air Tour (136); On-demand Air Taxi (135)
Operator Does Business As: Novictor Aviation
Operator Designator Code: 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PHNG, 23 ft msl
Observation Time: 0357 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 23°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 3500 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / , 60°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.93 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Departure Point: Honolulu, HI (PHNL)
Destination: Honolulu, HI (PHNL)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 21.467500, -157.803889

From a thousand feet in the air, the Hawaiian islands were breathtaking.

Carli McConaughy and Adam Barnett of Joliet took a helicopter tour on Monday while on vacation in Honolulu, two days after getting engaged while hiking the Manoa Falls Trail.

At the pilot’s suggestion, both glanced to their left to get a glimpse of the site where the classic television show Gilligan’s Island was filmed decades ago, off the coast of Oahu.

“It was the most beautiful thing we’ve ever seen,” said McConaughy, 35.

Suddenly the pilot’s head began bobbing and his body slumped over next to McConaughy, who was in the passenger seat. Barnett, 31, began shaking him from the the back seat, yelling at his fiance to “pull it up,” frantically motioning to the cyclic control in the center of the two front seats.

The chopper rapidly nosedived. While McConaughy had no prior flight training, she said she grabbed the control and pulled, likely slowing the decent and crash into the ocean.

“We hit the water hard,” she said. “I just think it was the best way we could have crashed. We all survived."

She said her fiance was able to pull her and the pilot out of the helicopter, and emergency responders brought them to shore of Kaneohe Bay on jet skis.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman confirmed that a Robinson R44 helicopter with three people on board crashed under unknown circumstances in Kaneohe on the island of Oahu, but had no other information. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are still investigating the crash.

The Honolulu Star Advertiser reported a Monday helicopter crash in Kaneohe Bay with a 35-year-old female passenger and 31-year-old male passenger. The owner of the helicopter tour company said the 57-year-old pilot had suffered a medical condition, according to the newspaper.

The helicopter wreckage was airlifted from waist-deep waters on Tuesday, according to the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. The crash site was on the ocean side of the Ahu O Laka sandbar, a popular spot for boat tours, the department said in a news release.

“The pilot and two passengers were seriously hurt but it’s reported none of their injuries are considered life-threatening,” the news release said.

Barnett and McConaughy are now back home in Joliet and healing from their injuries. McConaughy said she suffered a broken bone and toe in one foot, a gash in the other foot and a compression fracture in her back; she said Barnett’s injuries include a broken arm and he’ll likely need surgery on the area of his wrist. Both are also scratched and bruised.

“We’re just happy to be alive,” she said.


Military and Honolulu fire helicopters converged on the Kaneohe Bay sandbar, Monday afternoon, following the report of a downed helicopter. A 57-year-old helicopter pilot suffered an undisclosed medical condition at the time of the accident, according to a tour company the pilot works for.

HONOLULU (KHON2) - UPDATE: The helicopter is part of the Novictor Oahu Helicopter Tours.

A representative with the company said the pilot suffered an apparent medical condition during the flight, and added the pilot and two passengers suffered no life-threatening injuries. 

Emergency personnel rushed to Windward Oahu Monday afternoon after a helicopter went down near the Kaneohe sandbar.

It happened at around 5:15 p.m.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a Robinson R44 helicopter crashed under unknown circumstances.

Emergency Medical Services treated three patients, two men and a woman.

A 57-year-old man, reportedly the pilot, suffered apparent injuries to his back, head and chest; a 31-year-old male suffered apparent injuries to his head, chest, back and right arm; and a 35-year-old female suffered apparent injuries to her chest, back and left leg.

All patients also appeared to have suffered multiple lacerations to their bodies, according to EMS. They were all taken to a trauma center in serious condition.

Fire officials say Good Samaritans were able to assist them shortly after the crash.

"While en route, we were informed that there were three occupants. All were conscious and alert. As we got closer, more information came in telling us there was a Good Samaritan out there that had the three occupants on board so we just deployed our assets out there to assess, stabilize, and transport the three occupants," said Battalion Chief Mark Nakagawa, Honolulu Fire Department. "I'm not sure if they self-extricated or guys from the boat got off to assist them, but by the time we got out there, they were already on the boat. There were also two kayakers out there assisting.

"Nothing is ever straightforward but it was fortunate for us that the Good Samaritans were out there that quick, and were able to secure the three occupants, and then pass on information to our fire dispatch on their condition," Nakagawa added.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.khon2.com

A 57-year-old tour helicopter pilot suffered an undisclosed medical condition at the time of Monday afternoon’s accident at the Kaneohe Bay sandbar, the tour company said.

“We have confirmed that the pilot suffered a medical condition in flight,” said Nicole Vandelaar, owner and chief pilot of Novictor Helicopters.

The male pilot and two passengers, who are visitors to Hawaii, were taken to the Queen’s Medical Center in serious condition, but have been upgraded to stable condition.

Vandelaar declined to elaborate on the pilot’s medical condition out of respect for his privacy. She noted that the pilot’s injuries, as well as the passengers’ injuries, are non-life-threatening. “I’m just grateful that everybody is OK.”

Allen Kenitzer, spokesman of the Federal Aviation Administration, said the agency and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the accident which happened at about 5:12 p.m.

Crews from the Honolulu Fire Department, Coast Guard, Federal Fire Department and Waterfront Operations of Marine Corps Base Hawaii responded to the downed Robinson R44 helicopter.

HFD spokesman Capt. Scot Seguirant said good Samaritans, including fishermen and two kayakers, assisted the pilot and two passengers who were conscious and alert.

HFD coordinated with federal firefighters and the Marines to transport the three people to Heeia Kea Pier where Emergency Medical Services personnel were waiting.

Paramedics treated the pilot who sustained injuries to his back, head and chest and two visitors — a 35-year-old woman who sustained injuries to her chest, back and left leg and a 31-year-old man who sustained injuries to his head, chest, back and right arm.

Dustin Malama, spokesman of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department, said the pilot and passengers also suffered multiple lacerations to their bodies.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.staradvertiser.com

Three people were in serious condition today after a private helicopter landed on a sandbar in Kaneohe Bay.

A 35-year-old woman sustained leg injuries and a 31-year-old man had a right-arm injury. The 57-year-old male pilot had a head laceration and a right-arm injury. All three had spinal injuries and were transported to a trauma center.

The Honolulu Fire Department received a call at 5:12 p.m.

HFD Capt. Scot Seguirant said that the helicopter was on the sandbar in Kaneohe Bay in an upright position. There was no fire.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Wyrick said a non-military helicopter landed on the sandbar.

“I don’t know why they landed there,” she said. “I don’t know that it was an emergency landing.”

A 17-foot fishing boat in the area was the first to respond to the helicopter.

The first person rescue personnel brought back to shore from the helicopter was able to walk up the boat ramp, but the other two were each carried from the water, a witness said.

The three occupants were recovered by Ocean Safety and Honolulu firefighters, were brought to shore, and were transported to the Queen’s Medical Center, the Coast Guard said. The Department of Land and Natural Resources was on scene, and officials were assessing for pollution from the landing.

A Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter also responded as well as a C-130 airplane that was already flying when the incident happened.

Marine Corps Base Hawaii said it had at least one big CH-53E Super Stallion in the air assisting.

About seven years ago, a Marine died after a military helicopter crashed in Kaneohe Bay.

In March 29, 2011, an aging Marine Corps CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter crashed on the Kaneohe Bay sandbar, killing 22-year-old Cpl. Jonathan D. Faircloth. Three other crew members also were injured when the big helicopter made a “hard impact” landing from an altitude of about 300 feet while on a night training flight. The chopper ended up on its side.

The crash was caused by a “catastrophic mechanical failure” as pilots struggled to maintain control, an investigation concluded. The Sea Stallions were retired and replaced by newer CH-53E Super Stallions.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.staradvertiser.com

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