Sunday, November 4, 2018

Jim Gray Rotorway Exec 90, registered to and operated by the pilot, N716J: Accident occurred December 17, 2017 -and- Accident occurred October 19, 2016 at Caldwell Industrial Airport (KEUL), Canyon County, Idaho

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Boise, Idaho

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms


http://registry.faa.gov/N716JB

Location: Caldwell, ID
Accident Number: WPR18LA050
Date & Time: 12/17/2017, 1300 MST
Registration: N716JB
Aircraft: GRAY JIM ROBERT EXEC
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Powerplant sys/comp malf/fail
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On December 17, 2017, about 1300 mountain standard time, an experimental amateur-built Rotorway Exec-90 series helicopter, N716JB, landed hard following a loss of engine power at Caldwell Industrial Airport, Caldwell, Idaho. The private pilot/builder was not injured, and the helicopter sustained substantial damage to the lower fuselage structure. The helicopter was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight departed Caldwell about 1230.

The pilot stated that he planned to perform a series of hover-taxi and air-taxi maneuvers on taxiway A as practice, after a two-week period of bad weather. After taxiing around the airport for about 30 minutes, he heard an unusual sound and the engine began to lose power. He was initiating a turn at the time, and as the helicopter descended to 10 ft, the engine lost all power. He performed a forced landing, and the helicopter landed hard.

Examination of the helicopter revealed that oil was leaking from below the engine compartment, and a trail of oil was present on the ground in the areas that the helicopter had been taxing.

Following the accident, the pilot recovered the helicopter to his hangar and removed the body panels around the engine. He stated that the sump contained about 2 quarts of oil (capacity 5 quarts), and the engine appeared to have seized. An inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) performed an external inspection and found that all the visible major oil lines were intact and tight at their fittings, and there did not appear to be any catastrophic breaches or damage to the engine crankcase.

A few months after the accident the pilot began to disassemble the helicopter for repair, and discovered that the oil pressure guage line, which was attached to the oil filter housing by a brass compression fitting, had failed and separated from the fitting. He stated that the line was made of nylon tubing, which he purchased from a local automobile parts store.

He had installed the tubing about one year before the accident, after the original kit-supplied plastic line had degraded and was leaking oil into the cabin.

The pilot discarded the oil line before it could be examined by the FAA or NTSB.

According to FAA Advisory Circular AC 20-27G, Certification and Operation of Amateur-Built Aircraft, "Amateur builders are free to develop their own designs or build from existing designs. We do not approve these designs and it would be impractical to develop design standards for the wide variety of design configurations, created by designers, kit manufacturers, and amateur builders."


Photo 1 – Helicopter at Accident Site

Photo 2 – Oil on Ramp

Previous Accidents

The pilot was involved in three previous accidents in the accident helicopter, all involving a loss of power:

On October 19, 2016, the helicopter lost power during the initial takeoff climb (accident number: WPR17LA009). The NTSB determined the probable cause to be,

"The pilot's failure to properly tighten the tension bolts during the installation of the alternator belt, which resulted in inadequate voltage to sustain ignition and the subsequent partial loss of engine power."

On September 5, 2002, the helicopter lost power shortly after takeoff (accident number: FTW02LA250). The NTSB determined the probable cause to be,

"The pilot's failure to refuel the helicopter, which resulted in fuel exhaustion."

On October 1, 1999, the helicopter lost power while in the traffic pattern (accident number: DEN00LA001). The NTSB determined the probable cause to be,

"The pilot inadvertently allowing main rotor rpm to decay while avoiding obstacles during an emergency autorotation following a loss of power for reasons undetermined. Factors were houses and powerlines." 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 70, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/30/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 10/19/2017
Flight Time:  691 hours (Total, all aircraft), 317 hours (Total, this make and model), 33.4 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 11.1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: GRAY JIM ROBERT
Registration: N716JB
Model/Series: EXEC 90
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1998
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: EXEC-3000
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/05/2017, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1350 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 21 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 317 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rotorway
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: RW-152
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 152 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: KEUL, 2429 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1956 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 14°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 6000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 90°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.28 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 2°C / -5°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Caldwell, ID (EUL)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Caldwell, ID (EUL)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1230 MST
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Airport Information

Airport: CALDWELL INDUSTRIAL (EUL)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 2431 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: None 

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:  43.641944, -116.635833 (est)

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Boise, Idaho

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

Investigation Docket National Transportation Safety Board:https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Location: Caldwell, ID
Accident Number: WPR17LA009
Date & Time: 10/19/2016, 0910 MDT
Registration: N716JB
Aircraft: Gray Jim Robert Exec 90
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis 

Shortly after takeoff for the personal flight, about 15 to 20 ft above ground level, the experimental amateur-built helicopter suddenly yawed right, followed by a partial loss of engine power. The private pilot then performed a partial nose-up, collective-down maneuver, but due to the low altitude and not being able to maintain sufficient rotor rpm, he chose to land in soft dirt off the side of the runway; the helicopter landed hard.

The pilot had recently changed the alternator belt. A postaccident examination of the helicopter revealed that, during the maintenance, the pilot failed to properly tighten the tension bolts, which resulted in inadequate voltage to sustain ignition and the subsequent partial loss of engine power.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's failure to properly tighten the tension bolts during the installation of the alternator belt, which resulted in inadequate voltage to sustain ignition and the subsequent partial loss of engine power.

Findings

Aircraft
Ignition power supply - Incorrect service/maintenance (Cause)

Personnel issues
Installation - Pilot (Cause)
Factual Information

On October 19, 2016, about 0910 mountain daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Jim Gray Rotorway Exec 90 helicopter, N716JB, was substantially damaged following a forced landing after experiencing a loss of engine power at the Caldwell Industrial Airport (EUL), Caldwell, Idaho. The private pilot and registered owner of the helicopter was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was being conducted in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and a flight plan was not filed. The proposed local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

In a report submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot reported that during the takeoff everything seemed normal. He then accelerated and began a slow climb. At between 15 to 20 ft above ground level and about 40 to 45 knots, the helicopter suddenly yawed right, followed by the engine losing power. The pilot stated that being so low he could not perform a normal autorotation. The pilot opined that he did a partial nose-up, collective-down maneuver, but due to the low altitude and not being able to maintain sufficient rotor rpm, he elected to land in the soft dirt off the side of the runway. A hard landing resulted in the helicopter coming to rest on its left side. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tail boom and horizontal stabilizer.

Subsequent to a postaccident examination of the engine, which was performed by a Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspector, the inspector reported to the NTSB IIC that the pilot had recently changed the alternator belt, however, had failed to properly tighten the tension bolts, which resulted in inadequate voltage to sustain ignition, thus precipitating the loss of engine power and hard landing. 

Pilot Information


Certificate: Private
Age: 68, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/30/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 09/29/2015
Flight Time:  577 hours (Total, all aircraft), 403 hours (Total, this make and model), 422 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 50 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 16 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0.2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information


Aircraft Manufacturer: Gray Jim Robert
Registration: N716JB 
Model/Series: Exec 90
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1998
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: Exec-3000
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/28/2016, Continuous Airworthiness
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 223 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 223 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rotorway
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 55005
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 152 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: EUL, 2432 ft msl
Observation Time: 0856 MDT
Distance from Accident Site:
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 3°C / 2°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  8 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots, 40°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Caldwell, ID (EUL)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Caldwell, ID (EUL)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0900 MDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Airport Information

Airport: Caldwell Industrial (EUL)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 2432 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 12
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5500 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing 

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: 43.641944, -116.635833 (est)

3 comments:

Jim B said...

How many lives does this fellow have?

9-(3^2) = 0.

I politely suggest it is time to quit.

Anonymous said...

pilot just a total idiot

Anonymous said...

Pilots with a tool box scare me