Sunday, November 4, 2018

MD Helicopters MD530F (369F), operated by the Gwinnett County Police Department, N5189K: Accident occurred September 01, 2017 at Gwinnett County Airport (KLZU), Lawrenceville, Georgia


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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Atlanta, Georgia

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/N5189K




Location: Lawrenceville, GA
Accident Number: ERA17LA305
Date & Time: 09/01/2017, 1058 EDT
Registration: N5189K
Aircraft: MD HELICOPTER 369
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of tail rotor effectiveness
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under:  Public Aircraft

On September 1, 2017, at 1058 eastern daylight time, a MD Helicopters 369FF, N5189K, was substantially damaged while maneuvering to land at Gwinnett County Airport (LZU), Lawrenceville, Georgia. The commercial pilot and a pilot-rated crewmember were seriously injured. The helicopter was operated by the Gwinnett County Police Department as a local, public-use flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated at LZU about 1000.

The pilot reported the following that the preflight inspection of the helicopter and en route portions of the flight were uneventful. After about 1 hour on station performing law enforcement duties, the pilot returned to LZU to get ahead of deteriorating weather conditions. The flight was cleared to land on taxiway whiskey, then perform a side-step maneuver to the police helipad. The pilot recalled winds from 220° at 10 knots. He performed a normal approach to a 10-foot hover to taxiway whiskey. As he made a left turn to line up with the helipad, he noted that the cart on the helipad was not set up for a landing into the wind. He elected to discontinue the approach and make a right turn to land on a wash rack, into the wind.

As the pilot was about to initiate the turn to the wash rack, the pilot noted a "strong wind gust" followed by a "sudden, uncommanded, violent, right yaw" and "what seemed to be an uncommanded climb." He applied cyclic and pedal inputs; however, the helicopter continued in a right spin for at least two full rotations until it impacted the ground. The pilot and crewmember were met by first responders and transported to a local hospital for treatment of their injuries.

The pilot later reported that a small, county-owned outbuilding near the police pad can mask or block the wind, creating a turbulent effect. He stated that the perceived wind gust could also have been the tail rotor becoming "unmasked" from behind the outbuilding. The pilot further reported there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the helicopter.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. He reported that the helicopter came to rest on its right side in the grass, adjacent to a taxiway. There was no fire. Structural damage to the fuselage, tail rotor, and main rotor were confirmed. The main rotor blades were severed during the impact and were scattered up to 220 feet from the main wreckage. His examination of the wreckage did not reveal evidence of a mechanical malfunction or anomaly. 



Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Military
Age: 38, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/01/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/09/2017
Flight Time:   942 hours (Total, all aircraft), 44 hours (Total, this make and model), 942 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 20 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Other Flight Crew Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 46, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/25/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: MD HELICOPTER
Registration: N5189K
Model/Series: 369 FF
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1984
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 0603FF
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/25/2017, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3100 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time: 8032 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Allison
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 250-C30
Registered Owner: COUNTY OF GWINNETT GEORGIA
Rated Power: 425 hp
Operator: Gwinnett County Police Department
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: LZU, 1061 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1100 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 0°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility: 7 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 1500 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 190°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.93 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:  No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Lawrenceville, GA (LZU)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Lawrenceville, GA (LZU)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1000 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Gwinnett (LZU)
Runway Surface Type: Metal/Wood
Airport Elevation: 1061 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious
Latitude, Longitude:  33.978056, -83.962500 (est)







NTSB Identification: ERA17LA305
14 CFR Public Aircraft
Accident occurred Friday, September 01, 2017 in Lawrenceville, GA
Aircraft: MD HELICOPTER 369, registration: N5189K
Injuries: 2 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 1, 2017, at 1058 eastern daylight time, a MD Helicopters 369FF, N5189K, was substantially damaged while on approach to following an inflight loss of helicopter control at Gwinnett County Airport (LZU), Lawrenceville, Georgia. The commercial pilot and a pilot-rated crewmember were seriously injured. The helicopter was operated by the Gwinnett County Police Department as a local public flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated at LZU about 1000.

The pilot reported the following that. T the preflight inspection of the helicopter and en route portions of the flight were uneventful. After about 1one hour on station performing law enforcement duties, the pilot returned to LZU due to approaching weather conditions. While approaching the landing zone, the pilot noted a "strong wind gust" followed by a "sudden, uncommanded, violent, right yaw" and "what seemed to be an uncommanded climb." He applied cyclic and pedal inputs; however, the helicopter continued in a right spin for at least two full rotations until it impacted the ground. The pilots were met by first responders and transported to a local hospital for treatment of their injuries.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. He reported that the helicopter came to rest on its right side in the grass, adjacent to a taxiway. There was no fire. Structural damage to the fuselage, tail rotor, and main rotor were confirmed.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

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