Thursday, November 22, 2018

Experimental amateur-built Mosquito helicopter, N285XE: Accident occurred July 29, 2015 in Winchendon, Worcester County, Massachusetts

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Enfield, Connecticut

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Winchendon, MA
Accident Number: ERA15LA291
Date & Time: 07/29/2015, 1400 EDT
Registration: N285XE
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 29, 2015, about 1400 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Mosquito helicopter, N285XE, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Winchendon, Massachusetts. The commercial pilot/owner/builder was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated from Jaffrey Airport (AFN), Jaffrey, New Hampshire. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot completed an uneventful 40-minute flight in the airport traffic pattern at AFN, then landed and refueled the helicopter with 93 octane automotive fuel. He subsequently departed about 1300 for a flight in the local area. About 1 hour into the flight, and while flying at an altitude of 2,500 feet msl, the pilot felt the helicopter suddenly "kick from loss of torque." He then observed that the engine rpm had dropped to about 30%, and he was unable to increase engine power using the throttle control. The pilot responded by performing an autorotation to an open field. During the landing, the helicopter touched down "hard," and the main rotor system struck the tailboom, resulting in substantial damage to the airframe and tail rotor drive system.

About two weeks after the accident, the pilot conducted a test run of the engine on the airframe. Review of video from the test run showed the engine started without hesitation and ran at idle rpm with no obvious deficiencies noted. During a subsequent engine test run, the pilot accidently bumped an ignition system wire harness and the engine partially lost power. After examining the wire harness, he found that a "bad crimp" had resulted in a loss of electrical power to the coil pack of one cylinder, which resulted in a loss of spark for that cylinder, and the engine running on only one cylinder thereafter.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness records, the single-seat helicopter was issued experimental amateur-built aircraft operating limitations on April 20, 2015. The helicopter was equipped with an Innovator Technologies Inntec 800 two-stroke engine, rated at 85 horsepower, equipped with a Rotor Flight Dynamics Dragon Wings controllable pitch rotor. At the time of the accident, the airframe and engine had accumulated 25 total flight hours.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for rotorcraft-helicopter. In addition, he held a repairman experimental aircraft builder certificate for a Mosquito helicopter. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on March 11, 2011. The pilot reported 183 hours of total time, of which 25 hours were in the same make and model as the accident helicopter. His most recent flight review was dated January 3, 2015. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 26
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: Lap Only
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: 03/11/2011
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 01/03/2015
Flight Time:  183.1 hours (Total, all aircraft), 25 hours (Total, this make and model), 167 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 15.6 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 8.4 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1.5 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N285XE
Model/Series: MOSQUITO
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: MXE1249A14B
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/20/2015, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 610 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 25 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 25 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Innovator Technologies
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: Inntec 800
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 85 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KAFN, 1040 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1752 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 15°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.99 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / 17°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

Departure Point: Jaffrey, NH (AFN)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Jaffrey, NH (AFN)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1320 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class E 

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:  42.681111, -72.049167

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