Thursday, May 3, 2018

Mosquito XE: Accident occurred May 02, 2018 in Iron Station, Lincolnton, North Carolina

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charlotte, North Carolina

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

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

Location: Iron Station, NC
Accident Number: GAA18CA250
Date & Time: 05/02/2018, 1000 EDT
Registration: N725JC
Aircraft: MICHAEL R ALEXANDER MOSQUITO XE
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

The noncertificated pilot reported that, while practicing hovering the helicopter in his yard, the experimental amateur-built helicopter struck a tree with the tail rotor. He added that, the next thing he knew the helicopter developed "a huge vibration suddenly and [he] had no heading control". Subsequently, the helicopter impacted the ground.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation. The helicopter was destroyed by a post-crash fire.

The pilot reported in the NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report form (6120.1) that he should have taken more dual instruction, and he should have chosen a more open area for hover practice. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: None
Age: 56, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: None
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: MICHAEL R ALEXANDER
Registration: N725JC
Model/Series: MOSQUITO XE NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: MXE 1123110B
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/03/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 612 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 350 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Intec
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 800
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 95 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: KIPJ, 875 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1355 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 322°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 230°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.32 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C / 9°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Iron Station, NC
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Iron Station, NC
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1000 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries:1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 35.440000, -81.120000 (est)



LINCOLN COUNTY, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - An Iron Station man is lucky to be alive after his helicopter crashed and caught fire right on his front lawn.

Back in October, Timothy Kniess' wife won the lottery a hundred thousand dollars on a scratch off ticket.

Luck was definitely on their side again today when he was able to escape the crash with just a few scratches.

Neighbors weren’t surprised by the crash. They say they watched Kniess attempt to fly his Mosquito XE helicopter for weeks, just waiting for it all to go wrong.

"Is today the day? I came home and the neighborhood was blocked off and today was the day, it went down,” said neighbor John Aubery. 

North Carolina State Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies responded to the crash Wednesday morning, finding the helicopter on fire and Kniess watching his helicopter melt away.

"He was able to crawl away from the crash before it was engulfed in flames,” said NCSHP Trooper Jeffrey Swagger.

The Federal Aviation Administration says Kniess was attempting to hover when the helicopter's tail rotor got caught on a tree branch and the aircraft flew out of control.

"Man bought a helicopter, he woke up one day and said ‘today's the day, I identify as a pilot, bought a helicopter.’ Hell I can't tell a man what to do in his own property,” Aubery said. 

The FAA says investigators will be looking into the pilot's certification. State Highway Patrol tells FOX 46 Kniess wasn't experienced and we couldn't find any certifications under his name.

"Oh I knew it was going down. you don't see someone bouncing a helicopter around their yard like that, oh man this guy isn't going to make it,” said Aubery.

Many just can't believe Kniess' luck.

"The pilot was very fortunate that he didn't receive more injuries than he did,” Trooper Swagger said.

"God was watching out for him, that's all I can say,” said Aubery.

The National Transportation Safety Board will continue with the investigation and determine if any citations will be issued.


Story and video ➤  http://www.fox46charlotte.com


Timothy Kniess, left, was able to crawl away after his helicopter crashed on the front yard of his home.  


A man who hit the lottery last year had a double dose of luck on Wednesday when he was able to crawl away after crashing a helicopter on the front yard of his home.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration said Timothy Kniess, 56, was trying to hover when the helicopter's tail rotor got caught on a tree branch and the aircraft crashed at his home in Iron Station, located about 25 miles northwest of Charlotte.

"He was able to crawl away from the crash before it was engulfed in flames,” said North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper Jeffrey Swagger told FOX46.

Kniess suffered some minor scrapes but no serious injuries.

Swagger added that Kniess was "very fortunate" to not have received more serious injuries from the incident.

The 56-year-old was in the news last October when he won $100,000 on a scratch-off ticket after having his wife scratch the ticket, The Gaston Gazette reported at the time.

At the time, he said he planned to purchase a workshop with his winnings but neighbors said Wednesday he recently purchased the  Mosquito XE helicopter.

"Man bought a helicopter, he woke up one day and said ‘today's the day, I identify as a pilot, bought a helicopter.’ Hell I can't tell a man what to do in his own property,” neighbor John Aubery told FOX46.

The FAA said that investigators will be looking into the pilot's certification. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol told FOX 46 that Kniess wasn't experienced, and could not find any certifications under his name.

The National Transportation Safety Board will continue with the investigation, and determine if any citations will be issued. Neighbors said they couldn't believe Kniess' extended luck.

"God was watching out for him, that's all I can say,” Aubery said.

Story and video ➤ http://www.foxnews.com

Cargolux Airlines International, Boeing 747: Incident occurred May 02, 2018 at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (KDFW), Texas

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Dallas, Texas

Flight 774: While taxiing damaged taxiway lights.

Date: 02-MAY-18
Time: 22:50:00Z
Regis#: UNK
Aircraft Make: BOEING
Aircraft Model: B747
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: CARGO
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
Operation: 121
Aircraft Operator: CARGOLUX
Flight Number: 774
City: DALLAS
State: TEXAS

Piper PA-44-180 Seminole, N30521: Incident occurred May 02, 2018 at Hampton Roads Executive Airport (KPVG), Norfolk, Virginia

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Richmond, Virginia

Aircraft struck a deer on landing, taxied to ramp without incident.

Tradewind Aviation International LLC

http://registry.faa.gov/N30521

Date: 03-MAY-18
Time: 06:35:00Z
Regis#: N30521
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: 44 180
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: INSTRUCTION
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: NORFOLK
State: VIRGINIA

Piper PA-32RT-300T Turbo Lance II, N24BA: Incident occurred September 26, 2018 and Incident occurred May 02, 2018 at Malad City Airport (KMLD), Oneida County, Idaho

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

September 26, 2018: Went through a fence during aborted takeoff.

Biz Flyers LLC

https://registry.faa.gov/N24BA

Date: 26-SEP-18
Time: 22:50:00Z
Regis#: N24BA
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA 32RT 300T
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 91
City: MALAD CITY
State: IDAHO

May 02, 2018:  Aircraft landed and nose gear collapsed.

Date: 02-MAY-18

Time: 16:15:00Z
Regis#: N24BA
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: 32RT 300T
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: MALAD CITY
State: IDAHO

Beech 95-55, N467T: Incident occurred May 02, 2018 at Concord Municipal Airport (KCON), Merrimack County, New Hampshire

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine

Aircraft experienced a prop strike on landing.

http://registry.faa.gov/N467T

Date: 02-MAY-18
Time: 18:35:00Z
Regis#: N467T
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 95 55
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: CONCORD
State: NEW HAMPSHIRE

Sportsman GS-2, N3ZY: Incident occurred May 02, 2018 in Winnemucca, Humboldt County, Nevada

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Reno, Nevada

Aircraft landed on a highway.

http://registry.faa.gov/N3ZY

Date: 03-MAY-18
Time: 02:30:00Z
Regis#: N3ZY
Aircraft Make: EXPERIMENTAL
Aircraft Model: SPORTSMAN GS 2
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: NONE
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: WINNEMUCCA
State: NEVADA

Lancair ES, N33KT: Accident occurred May 02, 2018 in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albuquerque, New Mexico

Aircraft crash landed on a dirt road.

http://registry.faa.gov/N33KT

Date: 02-MAY-18
Time: 15:05:00Z
Regis#: N33KT
Aircraft Make: EXPERIMENTAL
Aircraft Model: LANCAIR ES
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: ALBUQUERQUE
State: NEW MEXICO

Southwest Airlines, Boeing 737-700, N713SW: Incident occurred May 02, 2018 at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (KCLE), Cuyahoga County, Ohio

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Cleveland, Ohio

Emergency landing due to possible cracked passenger window. Landed without further incident.

Southwest Airlines Company: http://registry.faa.gov/N713SW

Date: 02-MAY-18
Time: 14:41:00Z
Regis#: N713SW
Aircraft Make: BOEING
Aircraft Model: 737 7H4
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: COMMERCIAL
Flight Phase: EMERGENCY DESCENT (EMG)
Operation: 121
Aircraft Operator: SOUTHWEST AIRLINES
Flight Number: 9001
City: CLEVELAND
State: OHIO




(Reuters) - A Newark, New Jersey-bound Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) flight made an emergency landing in Cleveland on Wednesday after a window pane cracked in flight, airline officials and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said.

No one was injured in the incident, which came two weeks after an engine on a Southwest 737 ripped apart in flight and shattered a window, killing a female passenger in the first U.S. airline passenger fatality since 2009.

The cause of Wednesday’s crack in one of the window’s multiple panes was not immediately known.

The flight, Southwest 957, was traveling to Newark Liberty International Airport from Chicago Midway International Airport with 76 passengers on board. The crew diverted the Boeing Company 737-700 to Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport at about 11 a.m. EDT to inspect a layer of a windowpane, said Southwest spokesman Brian Parrish.

“The aircraft has been taken out of service for maintenance review,” Parrish said.

FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro, who confirmed no one was hurt, said the organization was investigating the incident.

Wednesday’s incident is damaging more to Southwest’s public perception than evidence of any systemic issue, Teal Group Fleet analyst Richard Aboulafia said. The airline said in its first- quarter earnings report it is bracing for a decline in bookings following the April engine blowout.

“It’s unfortunate only from an optics and image standpoint,” Aboulafia said. “Windows are made by window manufacturers. Nothing to do with technology that’s unique to the 737 or to Southwest.”

The FAA on Tuesday ordered additional inspections of fan blades in hundreds of additional engines similar to the one that failed in the deadly Southwest accident on April 17.

Southwest has said it planned to complete ultrasonic inspections on all fan blades on the some 700 planes in its fleet with the CFM56-7B engines, the model involved in last month’s blowout, over the next two weeks, meeting the FAA’s August deadline by mid-May. The CFM engine is made by a joint venture of General Electric Company and France’s Safran.

Southwest said it has not found any cracks on fan blades inspected since the accident.

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

United Hires Former White House Press Chief in Bid to Revamp Image: United wants to escape from a reputation for poor service, as well as a series of high-profile incidents



The Wall Street Journal
By Doug Cameron
May 3, 2018 6:00 a.m. ET


United Airlines said Thursday it had tapped former White House press chief Josh Earnest to head its communications team, part of the effort to improve the fortunes of a carrier damaged by everything from growth plans to the death of a dog in an overhead bin.

Mr. Earnest, a former press secretary under President Barack Obama, has been hired as a senior vice president at parent United Continental Holdings Inc. to oversee communications for a carrier that is become a touchstone for the fortunes of the broader U.S. airline industry.

United, the nation’s third-largest carrier by traffic, in January unveiled an ambitious expansion plan that rattled investors across the industry, sending the stock down in recent weeks despite strong financial results.

Chicago-based United is aiming to escape from a reputation for poor service borne out by industry surveys, as well as a series of high-profile incidents.

Mr. Earnest, who arrives with a long record in politics but no direct corporate experience, is due to join United later in May as the wider issues of passenger rights and industry safety gain traction among lawmakers.

One of the longest serving aides to President Obama, and press secretary from 2014, he developed a reputation for good relationships with the media and a tenacious defender of Mr. Obama’s image and reputation, sparring over stories he disliked, according to reporters who covered him.

He replaces Jim Olson, who joined from Starbucks Corp. and departed after two years last December.

“Cutting through the noise of the modern media environment is a challenge, especially in the highly competitive airline industry,” United said in a statement.

The airline has been battered by controversy over an incident last year when Chicago airport police forcibly removed a passenger from one of its jets. A series of controversial incidents involving pets on planes and the failure to meet cost-cutting and growth targets have also weighed on the stock.

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

Lancair 360, N92WL: Accident occurred May 02, 2018 near West Woodward Airport (KWWR), Oklahoma

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N92WL

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Woodward, OK
Accident Number: CEN18LA156
Date & Time: 05/02/2018, 1620 CDT
Registration: N92WL
Aircraft: LAMINAR Lancair 360
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 2, 2018, about 1620 central daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Laminar Lancair 360 airplane, N92WL, experienced a total loss of engine power during cruise flight and impacted terrain during a forced landing to a field about 1/2 mile from the Woodward Municipal Airport (WWR), Woodward, Oklahoma. The pilot and one passenger were not injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was owned by an individual and operated by the pilot under the provisions of the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, which was operated on an instrument flight plan. The flight departed the Lee Summit Municipal Airport (LXT), Lee's Summit, Missouri, about 1416, and was en route to the Dalhart Municipal Airport, Dalhart, Texas.

At 1555, the surface weather observation at WRR was wind 160° at 23 knots, gusting to 32 knots; visibility 10 miles; scattered clouds 4,700 ft, scattered clouds 5,500 ft, scattered clouds 6,500 ft; temperature 27° C; dew point 15° C; and altimeter 29.78 inches of mercury. Lightning observed distant to northeast, south, and west. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: LAMINAR
Registration: N92WL
Model/Series: Lancair 360
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
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: WWR, 2189 ft msl
Observation Time: 1555 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 15°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 4700 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 23 knots/ 32 knots, 160°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.78 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Lee Summit, MO (LXT)
Destination: Dalhart, TX (DHT)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 36.443611, -99.515000 (est)




Two men flying an experimental aircraft from Missouri to Arizona forced landed their plane in the field just north of the Woodward Airport on Wednesday afternoon.

The men, Pilot Mark Johnson of Cypress, Texas and passenger Matthew Lafe of Prescott, Arizona were piloting the experimental Lancair 360 back to Arizona after purchasing the aircraft in Missouri, according to Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Steve Nightengale.

At 10,000 feet, the pilot told Nightengale that the aircraft suffered a complete engine failure and they had too much headwind from nearby storms so they tried to make it back to Woodward's airport, where they hoped to make a controlled landing.

However, the aircraft lost altitude and they were forced to put the aircraft dopwn in the field just north of the Woodward Regional Airport.

Called to the scene were law enforcement, firefighters and ambulance service. The two men on the plane appeared to be in good condition upon setting the plane down in the grass.

The investigation is being headed by Trooper Roy Anderson of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol's aircraft incident investigation unit.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.woodwardnews.net

Robinson R22 Mariner, N923SM: Accident occurred May 02, 2018 in Panama City, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entity:  
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;  Vestavia Hills, Alabama 

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

http://registry.faa.govN923SM

Location: Panama City, FL
Accident Number: ERA18LA140
Date & Time: 05/02/2018, 1000 CDT
Registration: N923SM
Aircraft: ROBINSON R22
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Positioning 

On May 2, 2018, about 1000 central standard time, a Robinson R-22 Mariner helicopter, N923SM, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to water near Panama City, Florida. The commercial pilot received minor injuries. The flight was operated in accordance with Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a positioning flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Perry-Foley Airport (40J), Perry, Florida at 0830, and was destined for Destin Executive Airport (DTS), Destin, Florida.

The pilot reported that 90 minutes after departing 40J, while in cruise flight at 80 knots and 800 ft mean sea level (msl), the helicopter slowly started losing airspeed; he pushed the cyclic forward, but the airspeed kept decreasing and the helicopter was beginning to lose altitude. He continued to push the cyclic forward until it hit the stop and realized he had no cyclic authority. The pilot stated there was no forward airspeed and the helicopter continued to descend until it impacted the water. The helicopter floated briefly until it was struck by waves and rolled inverted.

A pilot flying in formation with the accident helicopter noticed that the helicopter slowed from about 80 knots to 30 knots in about 15 seconds. The pilot further reported that the helicopter was descending in a reverse gliding attitude and struck the water with the tail boom first, before rolling upside down.

Examination of the helicopter by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the main rotor blades were deformed, the fuselage was structurally damaged, and the tail boom was partially separated. In addition, a tiedown rope and blade sock used to secure the helicopter blades on the ground was found tightly wrapped around the swash plate and pitch change links of the main rotor.

The two-seat, semi-rigid single-main-rotor, single-engine helicopter, was manufactured in 1991 and was issued a standard airworthiness certificate. The helicopter was equipped with floats and was powered by a 160-horsepower Lycoming O-320-B2C series engine.

At 0953, the weather recorded at Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport Panama City (ECP) Florida, included no clouds or restriction to visibility, wind from 140° at 9 knots, and visibility 10 statute miles. The temperature was 20°C, and the dew point was 18°C. The altimeter setting was 30.27 inches of mercury.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: ROBINSON
Registration: N923SM
Model/Series: R22 MARINER
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: N923SM LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KECP, 68 ft msl
Observation Time: 0953 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C / 18°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots, 140°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  
Altimeter Setting: 30.27 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: PERRY, FL (40J)
Destination: DESTIN, FL (DTS) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude:



PANAMA CITY BEACH — The pilot of a Robinson R22 helicopter that crashed in the Gulf of Mexico near Carillon Beach Resort made it to shore safe and uninjured Wednesday morning, though the same could not be said for his aircraft.

Witnesses reported seeing the R22, a light, single-bladed helicopter about 28 feet long, flying with another, larger helicopter moments before the crash. Shauna Rutt, who was laying on the beach with her mother, remembered seeing the larger helicopter flying up and down the beach the day before. Helicopters are a common sight in the area, ferrying tourists out for spectacular views of the Gulf.

When the R22 began to lose altitude, she didn’t think anything of it. The aircraft had buoys on its skids allowing it to float and for a moment she thought the pilot was attempting a water landing.

“At first I thought, ’This is really cool, a landing right in front of us,” she said.

Then, she noticed the propellers were barely spinning. The helicopter took a nose dive into the Gulf and for several heart-stopping moments was submerged.




Less than a minute later, the helicopter popped back up to the surface with the pilot - the lone occupant - clinging to the buoy. Rutt said he climbed onto the helicopter, floating belly-up between the first and second sandbars, and waited for a rescue.

The crash triggered a massive emergency response, with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, Fish and Wildlife, US Coast Guard, Panama City Beach Police Department, Panama City Beach and Surf and even several lifeguards answering the call. Numerous first responders jumped on paddleboards and made their way out to the pilot, who made it back on shore with “just a little salt water ingestion,” according to BCSO Lt. Chad King.

Chriss and Monika Morrisson, who live nearby, ran down to the beach expecting the worst. They stood together on the white sand, nervously watching the Coast Guard vessel keeping an eye on the overturned helicopter.

“I am just so happy he walked away from it,” Chriss Morrison remarked.

After the excitement died down, the wreck attracted quite a crowd, with about two dozen bystanders out on the water line watching the upturned helicopter bob in the surf, a buoy emblazoned with “Boatpix.com” sticking up in the air.

With the help of its two buoys and a decent wind, the wreck floated about a half mile west down the beach before drifting in far enough to get stuck on the first sandbar while emergency crews waited for the Federal Aviation Administration to respond and begin its investigation. At one point, the helicopter’s door was pushed open, the pilot’s belongings drifting away into the Gulf.




According to the FAA, the downed R22 Mariner was a commercial helicopter built in 1991 and was most recently registered in 2014. Also according to the FAA, an aircraft’s owner is responsible for removing an aircraft from a crash site. The FAA will be investigating the crash, and the National Transportation Safety Board will issue a probable cause.

When the R22 emerged from the Gulf later in the afternoon and was flipped right-side up, it was clear the crash could have been much worse. All of the glass had shattered in the impact, the snapped propeller hung at an awkward angle like a broken arm, and the tail lay several feet away, completely severed.

The name of the pilot has not yet been released. Efforts to reach Boatpix.com were unsuccessful, but a website for the company says they operate out of West Palm Beach, shooting photos of boats, primarily at events, which they then sell back to the owners. Helicopters operated by the company, many of them the same R22 model or the slightly larger R44 model, have been involved in several accidents, including one near Oaks Island Pier in Brunswick County, North Carolina in 2012 and over Lake Travis in Austin, Texas in May 2008. 

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