Sunday, July 8, 2018

Best Off Skyranger, N4329R: Accident occurred July 08, 2018 near Houghton Lake State Airport (5Y2), Roscommon County, Michigan

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N4329R

Location: Houghton Lake, MI
Accident Number: CEN18LA280
Date & Time: 07/08/2018, 0643 EDT
Registration: N4329R
Aircraft: Best Off SKYRANGER
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 8, 2018, at 0643 eastern daylight time, a Best Off Skyranger experimental light-sport airplane, N4329R, made a forced landing shortly after takeoff from Houghton Lake State Airport (5Y2), Houghton, Michigan. The pilot sustained serious injuries, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by the private pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area personal flight that was departing at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot, he did not observe any anomalies with the airplane or its engine during his preflight inspection and the fuel tank contained about 12 gallons of automotive fuel before the flight. The pilot did not observe any anomalies during his before-takeoff engine runup. The pilot reported that the takeoff roll, rotation, and initial climb from runway 16 was uneventful; however, as the airplane climbed through 150 ft above ground level the engine speed rapidly decreased from 6,200 rpm to 4,700 rpm. He verified that the throttle was full forward, the ignition switch was selected to "Both", the fuel valve was open, and that there was available fuel in the tank. The pilot also turned on the electric fuel pump. Despite the pilot's corrective actions, the engine continued to operate at a decreased power setting and the airplane was unable to maintain altitude. The pilot reported that there were trees ahead of the airplane's flight path, so he made a turn into the wind and maneuvered to land on a nearby golf course fairway. The pilot stated that the airplane had insufficient altitude and airspeed to flare normally, which resulted in a hard landing on the fairway. The pilot sustained multiple spinal injuries during the hard landing.

A postaccident examination was completed by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness inspector with the Grand Rapids Flight Standards District Office. The FAA inspector reported that both wings and the empennage sustained substantial damage during the forced landing. The engine, a Rotax 582, serial number 5544720, did not exhibit any crankcase or cylinder fractures. No oil leaks were observed on the exterior engine components. The engine remained attached to the fuselage mounts and firewall; however, the mounts and firewall had buckled during impact. The three-blade propeller remained attached to the engine and exhibited blade damage consistent with rotation at impact. The firewall-mounted oil reservoir contained ample engine oil. Two spark plugs, one from each cylinder, were removed and exhibited normal wear signatures. The remaining two spark plugs were damaged during the accident and were not removed. Both carburetors had separated from their respective induction tubes during impact; however, both carburetor throttle arms remained attached to the control cable that was continuous to the cockpit throttle. A partial disassembly of both carburetors revealed ample automotive fuel in their respective bowls. No contamination was observed in the carburetor bowls or the fuel screens. The FAA inspector rotated the propeller by hand and confirmed mechanical continuity of the internal drivetrain components. The dual electronic ignition system appeared undamaged. The postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal engine operation during the flight.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Best Off
Registration: N4329R
Model/Series: SKYRANGER No Series
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: HTL, 1150 ft msl
Observation Time: 0653 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 10°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 200°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.32 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Houghton Lake, MI (5Y2)
Destination: Houghton Lake, MI (5Y2) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude:  44.326111, -84.788333 (est)


A small plane crashed on hole 4 prior to 7am this morning. 

We're happy to report that there were no major injuries. 


Hole 4 will remain closed until the plane is removed later this afternoon 


The Quest Golf Club 
Houghton Lake

Beechcraft 58 Baron, N6926Z: Fatal accident occurred April 10, 2018 in Tucuman, Argentina

Miguel Urtubey Formini piloteaba la avioneta bimotor que cayó en Tucumán. 

Álvaro Calliera, una de las víctimas del accidente aéreo en Tucumán. 

Javier Zagaglia, una de las víctimas del accidente aéreo en Tucumán.



14 CFR Non-U.S., Non-Commercial
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 10, 2018 in Tucuman, Argentina
Aircraft: BEECH 58, registration: N6926Z
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

The government of Argentina has notified the NTSB of an accident involving a BEECH 58 airplane that occurred on April 10, 2018. The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the government of Argentina's investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13.

All investigative information will be released by the government of Argentina.












Cuatro personas murieron este martes al caer la avioneta en la que viajaban, en una zona montañosa al norte de la capital tucumana. Los fallecidos son los empresarios Álvaro y José Calliera, el productor agropecuario Javier Zagaglia, y el piloto de la aeronave, Miguel Urtubey Formini.

Ellos habían partido después de la 9 de ayer desde el aeródromo del Aero Club Tucumán, ubicado en el municipio de Yerba Buena, rumbo a Gobernador Garmendia, un viaje de 90 kilómetros. Pero a las 11 se activó el protocolo de emergencias porque se había perdido contacto con la nave. Además, desde el destino se avisó que no habían llegado a la hora prevista.

Alrededor del mediodía, uno de los helicópteros de la provincia que participaba en la búsqueda del avión lo halló en una zona 20 kilómetros al norte de San Miguel de Tucumán. La localidad, llamada El Naranjito, es un área montañosa y agreste de difícil acceso que afectó el trabajo y el acceso de los equipos de rescate.

Por razones que se buscan determinar, la aeronave, un bimotor Beechcraft Barón 58 matrícula N6926Z, se estrelló.

https://www.clarin.com

Incident occurred July 07, 2018 in Herman, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin

SHEBOYGAN - A plane made an emergency landing in an open field in the town of Herman on Saturday evening.

According to the Sheboygan County Sheriff's Office, the plane landed south of County Highway FF and west of State Highway 32 a little before 8 p.m. without damage to the aircraft. The pilot and passenger, who have not been identified, were not injured.

Initial reports indicate the privately owned plane was flying from Washington Island to Sheboygan County when it lost power and made the emergency landing in an open field. 

Original article ➤ https://www.sheboyganpress.com

Eurocopter EC 135P1, N312SA, owned by Bennett Aviation, LLC and operated by Pentastar Aviation Charter: Accident occurred July 07, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration; Washington, District of Columbia
Pentastar Aviation; Pontiac, Michigan

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N312SA 

Location: Chicago, IL
Accident Number: CEN18FA259
Date & Time: 07/07/2018, 2123 CDT
Registration: N312SA
Aircraft: EUROCOPTER DEUTSCHLAND GMBH EC135P1
Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor, 1 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled - Air Medical (Medical Emergency) 

On July 7, 2018, about 2123 central daylight time, an Eurocopter Deutschland GMBH EC135 P1 helicopter, impacted terrain during an autorotation following a dual engine failure while maneuvering near Chicago, Illinois. The pilot and paramedic sustained minor injuries, the flight nurse sustained serious injuries, and the patient was not injured during the accident. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, tailboom, and main rotor blades. The helicopter was owned by Bennett Aviation, LLC, Elmhurst, Illinois, and operated by Pentastar Aviation Charter under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an air ambulance flight. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and the flight was operated under a visual flight rules flight plan. The flight departed St. Mary Medical Center, Hobart, Indiana, at 2110, and was destined for Advocate Christ Medical Center, Oak Lawn, Illinois.

Preliminary satellite tracking and air traffic control information revealed the helicopter was traveling northwest from the St. Mary Medical Center on a direct route to Advocate Christ Medical Center about 1,000 ft above ground level. About 5 miles southeast of Advocate Christ Medical Center, the helicopter turned to the right after the pilot requested to return to the Gary, Indiana, airport. About 50 seconds later, the pilot declared a "mayday" and stated the helicopter was going down into a field. The helicopter came to rest upright in a grass area between the Interstate 94 and Interstate 57 interchange.

Surveillance video from a Chicago Transit Authority rail platform located adjacent to the accident site depicted the helicopter during the final phase of the autorotation and impact with terrain. The video showed a fire near the number 2 (right) engine during the autorotation. A explosion was observed after the impact with terrain.

Postaccident examination of the accident site revealed the initial impact was consistent with the fenestron skid cap contacting the terrain first, followed by the landing gear skids and fuselage. The left landing gear skid was separated and came to rest near the ground scar consistent with the fuselage. The fuselage was crushed upward, and the fenestron assembly was separated at the tailboom attachment location (see Figures 1 and 2). The pilot seat, paramedic seat, and flight nurse seat were found fully attenuated. Thermal damage was noted on the right engine and main transmission cowling. Both engines power turbine wheel blades were missing the outer halves of the blades. Multiple impact dents, consistent with the fractured turbine blades, were noted inside the exhaust stubs. The No. 1 engine had a 1/2" by 1/2" hole in the exhaust stub at the 2 o'clock position forward of the aft firewall, and the No. 2 engine had a 2" by 1" hole in the exhaust stub at the 11 o'clock position forward of the aft firewall.

The helicopter was equipped with an Outerlink IRIS video, voice, flight data, and satellite communications system. The IRIS equipment was removed and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder laboratory for video, voice, and data extraction.


Figure 1. Main Wreckage

Figure 2. Main Wreckage 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: EUROCOPTER DEUTSCHLAND GMBH
Registration: N312SA
Model/Series: EC135P1
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Pentastar Aviation Charter
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: MDW, 619 ft msl
Observation Time: 2153 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 13°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 100°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.27 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Departure Point: Hobart, IN
Destination: Chicago, IL

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor, 1 None
Aircraft Fire: In-Flight
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor, 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 41.715278, -87.624444





CHICAGO -- A medical helicopter's three-person crew is in good condition and a patient remains in critical condition after they crash landed on the South Side Saturday night.

The helicopter was transporting an unnamed patient to Christ Hospital when the pilot radioed there was an emergency around 9:15 p.m. Saturday. Shortly after the crew made its mayday call, the pilot made an emergency landing on a grassy area beside the Bishop Ford near 103rd Street.

All three crew members walked away from the crash, and are now listed in good condition. The patient they were transporting was in critical condition prior to the crash, and remains in the same condition.

Part of the Bishop Ford was closed after the crash, causing delays in the area. While the ramp to I-57 has since reopened, the ramp from the interstate remained closed as of 5 p.m. Sunday. Crews were still attempting to clean up the scene and tow the helicopter away Sunday morning.

Witnesses say they thought the helicopter might have had trouble because of fireworks, while investigators are still looking into the official cause. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have now taken over the investigation.

Story and video ➤ https://wgntv.com



CHICAGO — The three-person flight crew and patient injured in Saturday night's medical helicopter crash on Chicago's South Side continue to receive professional medical care and all of their families are receiving support and assistance by specially trained team members, a spokesman for Superior Air said Sunday. 

The Associated Press on Sunday reported the Superior Air helicopter that crashed was headed toward the Gary/Chicago International Airport. 

It's unclear where the flight originated, according to the AP.

However, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the agency has "not released any additional information about a destination," adding that detail is part of the investigation.

Audio posted to www.liveatc.net — an air traffic enthusiasts' audio website — reportedly details a conversation the pilot and an air traffic controller has moments leading up to the crash. 

The audio of the mayday callout begins around 21:35.

Prior to the pilot declaring mayday, it appears he requests to return to Gary airspace, according to the audio. The Times was unable to independently confirm the audio or the pilot's intended destination. 

“Mayday. Mayday. Mayday,” the pilot states.

"What can I do for you, sir?"

"I need to find a place to land," the pilot responds.

"Can we get you any assistance?" the controller said. 

"Not at the moment. We're going down," the pilot says.

"Do you know where you're going to be landing at?"

"In a field," the pilot responds prior to crashing.

The pilot may have saved lives by crashing the helicopter in a grassy area on the South Side, rather than on major interstate highways or a train station nearby, officials said Sunday.

The four people onboard Saturday evening were injured but no one was hurt on the ground.

The Federal Aviation Administration says a Eurocopter 135 air ambulance helicopter crashed around 9:15 p.m. Saturday in a grassy knoll near the intersection of Interstate 94 and Interstate 57 on the city's South Side due to unknown circumstances.

Chicago Fire Deputy District Fire Chief Lynda Turner said the pilot maneuvered the helicopter to land belly-down with all rotors intact. The helicopter was smoking but not on fire, she said.

"The pilot did an excellent job of landing a helicopter that was in an emergency situation," Turner said at a news conference.

Emergency crews from the Chicago Fire Department, Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police arrived on scene and located the Superior helicopter. Four passengers were on board and were found conscious, according to an Illinois State Police news release.

Chicago Fire Deputy District Chief Walter Schroeder says the patient in the helicopter was taken to a hospital in critical condition, while the three crew members onboard were transported in stable condition.

Schroeder says the pilot issued a "mayday" call before the crash, but the exact cause is not yet known. He also commended the pilot for putting the aircraft down in a grassy area away from traffic.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.

Results of the Federal Aviation Administration report will not be made public until the investigation concludes, which could take up to a month, spokesman Tony Molinaro said.

Peter Knudson, a National Transportation Safety Board spokesman, said its investigation will be finished in one to two weeks and the wreckage site will be cleared later Sunday.

In a news release, a spokesman for Superior stated they are working closely with the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigation, along with the FAA and the aircraft manufacturer.

"As with any aviation accident that is under investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board is the only official communicator of accident related information. Health care information regulations and our internal confidentiality policies prohibit any release or discussion of patient information," the spokesman said in the release. 

Story and video ➤ https://www.nwitimes.com




CHICAGO — A pilot may have saved lives by crashing a medical helicopter in a grassy area on the South Side of Chicago rather than on major interstate highways or a train station nearby, officials said Sunday.

The four people onboard Saturday evening were injured but no one was hurt on the ground.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the crash occurred around 9:15 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of three expressways.

The patient in the helicopter was taken to a hospital in critical condition, said Chicago Fire Deputy District Chief Walter Schroeder, while the three crew members onboard were transported in stable condition.

The crash caused a snarl in Chicago traffic, with northbound I-57 and southbound I-94 lanes closed Sunday while the investigation continues.

Schroeder said the pilot issued a “mayday” call before the crash, but the exact cause is not yet known. He commended the pilot for putting the aircraft down in a grassy median away from traffic.

Deputy district fire chief Lynda Turner said the pilot maneuvered the helicopter to land belly-down with all rotors intact. The helicopter was smoking but not on fire, she said.

“The pilot did an excellent job of landing a helicopter that was in an emergency situation,” Turner said at a press conference.

The helicopter was headed toward Gary Airport. It’s unclear where the flight originated.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash. Results of the Federal Aviation Administration report will not be made public until the investigation concludes, which could take up to a month, spokesman Tony Molinaro said. Peter Knudson, a National Transportation Safety Board spokesman, said its investigation will be finished in one to two weeks and that the wreckage site will be cleared later on Sunday.

Story and video ➤ https://fox59.com

Robinson R44 Raven, privately owned and operated by the commercial pilot, N616HS: Fatal accident occurred July 08, 2018 near Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport (KJGG), Virginia

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Richmond, Virginia

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N616HS 

Location: Williamsburg, VA
Accident Number: ERA18FA187
Date & Time: 07/08/2018, 1633 EDT
Registration: N616HS
Aircraft: Robinson R44
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 8, 2018, about 1633 eastern daylight time, a Robinson R44-II, N616HS, was destroyed when it impacted a condominium building in Williamsburg, Virginia. The commercial pilot on-board the helicopter and one resident in the building were fatally injured. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated from Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport (JGG), Williamsburg, Virginia about 1640 and was destined for Stafford Regional Airport (RMN), Stafford, Virginia. The helicopter was privately owned and operated by the commercial pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot had flown from RMN to the JGG earlier that morning to attend a meeting at the airport. Airport personnel reported that the helicopter had been refueled, topping off both fuel tanks, prior to departure from JGG.

Review of preliminary Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control radar data show the helicopter departed JGG about 1630, and then headed north toward the accident site. The helicopter climbed to a pressure altitude of about 1,700 feet. After reaching 1,700 feet, the helicopter leveled off, and the groundspeed increased from about 60 knots to about 110 knots over the next 1.5 minutes. The helicopter then entered a right decreasing radius turn, while descending, until tracking coverage was lost. At the last recorded position, the helicopter was in the vicinity of the accident site, descending at a rate greater than 10,000 feet per minute.

Several witnesses near the accident site described the helicopter as flying low, one estimated its height at about 100 feet above the ground, as it approached the two-story condominium complex. They described it as flying relatively straight and level or slightly descending, before suddenly pitching nose down and descending into the roof of the building. One witness described the helicopter as "rocking back and forth unsteadily" just before it pitched downward. Another witness located about 100 yards south of accident site recalled the engine making a "constant sound" as it flew over his head.

The helicopter impacted a two-story 10 unit condominium building located about 3 nautical miles north of JGG. The main wreckage came to rest inside the north end of the building, with some components including a section of the tail rotor drive shaft found along the 70-foot wreckage path extending from the building on a heading of about 20° magnetic.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that all the major components of the helicopter were present at the accident site except for the tail boom, the tail rotor, and tail rotor gearbox. The vertical stabilizer and aft bulkhead and a section of the tail rotor guard were located, however fire and building collapse damage prevented access to several areas surrounding the main wreckage. Many of the components were partially or completely consumed by a post-crash fire. Remnants of the removable copilot side controls were found near their stowed position. Remnants of all the pilot side controls were present. All hydraulic controls were identified with portions of all the push-pull rods extending from the hydraulic actuators. Portions of the flight control rods were thermally damaged. All main and tail rotor flight control rod ends were secure to their attachment points at both ends, except for the tail rotor gear box connection which was not recovered. The transmission input sheave (pully) was manually rotated in both the locking and freewheeling modes, and the main rotor drive shaft rotated with the sheave, with some interference from a damaged flex coupling. A score mark on the aft face of the upper sheave was about 4 inches long in the direction of rotation. The leading edges of both main rotor blades were dented and bent in several locations and remained attached to the rotor hub. About 1 foot of each tip of both blade spars were not recovered and most of the remainder of the main rotor blades were consumed by fire. The tail rotor gearbox mounting bolts were fractured consistent with overload. The transmission continuity was confirmed from the upper sheave to the main rotor mast and to the intermediate flex coupling. The main and auxiliary fuel tanks were severely damaged. The cap on the main tank was in place, the cap on the auxiliary tank was missing. Portions of the main and auxiliary fuel tanks were consumed by post-crash fire.

The engine crankshaft was rotated freely by hand. Both oil coolers, one on each side of the engine, exhibited grinding damage in line with the starter ring gear. Thumb compression and suction were present on all cylinders, though weaker on cylinder No. 5. The cylinder head and intake pipe for cylinder No. 5 received impact damage, and debris was found in the intake. All spark plugs exhibited normal wear and coloration as compared to the Champion check-a-plug chart, the number 4 and 6 bottom spark plugs were oil-soaked. Both magnetos were impact and fire damaged and could not be tested. Borescope inspection of all cylinders did not reveal any damage or scoring marks on piston tops, cylinder walls or valves. The fuel injection servo inlet screen was free of debris. The butterfly valve was found in the full open position however the input control rod was damaged and not connected, the mixture control actuator was too damaged to determine its position. The mixture control knob in the cockpit was found in the full rich position. All six fuel injector nozzles were found unobstructed.

A review of helicopter maintenance logbooks revealed that the most recent annual inspection was performed by the helicopter manufacturer on August 24, 2017, at an airframe total time of 619 hours, as part of the 12-year inspection and overhaul maintenance recommendation. The most recent recorded maintenance was an oil change and was performed on January 26, 2018 at an airframe total time of 649 hours. The airframe total time at the time of the accident could not be determined.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records, the 85-year-old pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, airplane multiengine land, instrument-airplane, and rotorcraft-helicopter. A review of his logbook revealed he had accumulated 5,693 total hours of flight experience, of which 1,919 hours were in rotorcraft, and of those, 545 hours were in the same make and model as the accident helicopter.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N616HS
Model/Series: R44 II
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
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: KJGG, 49 ft msl
Observation Time: 1635 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / 10°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.27 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Williamsburg, VA (JGG)
Destination: Stafford, VA (RMN)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 37.288333, -76.729444

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.

WILLIAMSBURG — The small, four-seat helicopter was in the air only a few minutes before something went wrong.

The Robinson R44 Raven II had flown about a mile from the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport on Sunday when it crashed into the Bristol Commons townhome complex off Ironbound Road, setting a 10-unit building on fire.

Witnesses to the crash said they heard an explosion before seeing the building go up in flames.

Bristol Commons resident Jean Lonchak Danylko, 91, and pilot Henry E. Schwarz of Alexandria, Virginia, were killed in the crash, authorities confirmed.

Since 1995, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a handful of special airworthiness information bulletins for the Robinson R44, which is not uncommon.

But some aviation lawyers say the R44 can experience certain mechanical issues and post-crash fires.

“The R44 does have a statistically higher accident rate than other helicopters,” said Ladd Sanger, a helicopter pilot and aviation attorney with Texas-based firm Slack Davis Sanger. “The question on this case is why did the helicopter come out of the air in the first place?”

Other pilots, such as Ray Jarman, membership coordinator for the Virginia Helicopter Association, say the R44 is safe.

“The R44 is one of the most popular models around,” Jarman said. “I take issue with that. That’s untrue as far as I’m concerned. They are not unsafe. Any aircraft can be unsafe if it operated outside of its design limits.”

Bristol Commons crash

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Doug Brazy said the four-seat, single-engine Robinson R44 helicopter left the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport around 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

The helicopter ended up crashing “halfway between the front and back” of the condo building, located in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive, Brazy said.

Fire officials worked through the night Sunday into Monday morning to put out the fire and remaining hot spots, allowing NTSB and FAA investigators to enter the building and approach the aircraft.

NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said investigators are typically on the scene for two to three days following aircraft crashes. The NTSB will release a final report on the cause in 12 to 24 months.

Brazy said Monday that he believed Schwarz was properly certified for flying helicopters and other aircraft.

Flight data on Schwarz’s helicopter shows he traveled to various states, including Texas, along the coast of California near Los Angeles, Arizona and more.

In response to the crash, Robinson Helicopter Co. also released a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, loved ones, and friends of those affected by the accident,” Robinson spokeswoman Loretta Conley said. “Robinson’s accident investigators are currently onsite assisting the FAA and NTSB with the investigation, which prevents us from commenting on this particular incident.”

R44 incidents

So far in 2018, NTSB records show there have been 11 crashes — three of which were fatal — involving Robinson R44 helicopters in the United States.

Since January 2000, 158 of 432 crashes involving R44s worldwide since have been fatal. The NTSB reports the cause of several recent crashes — including in Alaska and Wisconsin — as pilot error.

““When you encounter turbulence, you have to slow down,” Jarman said. “It’s like riding down an interstate highway at 70 mph and all of a sudden it turns into a secondary state highway and then gravel. If you don’t slow down that vehicle will be damaged.”

The New Zealand Department of Conservation no longer allows some Robinson helicopters, including the R44 and R22, to fly in that country’s airspace, according to news reports.

Since 1995, the FAA has issued 10 special airworthiness information bulletins for the R44. The bulletins cover parts such as carbon monoxide detectors, navigation equipment, rotor blades, alternator belts and a fuel tank bladder retrofit.

Special airworthiness information bulletins are not uncommon. In the past 60 days, the FAA has issued six bulletins for several manufacturers, including the Boeing Co. Other popular helicopter manufacturers, such as Airbus, have also seen bulletins issued for various models.

The R44 fuel tank was the subject of a Robinson service bulletin in December 2010, Conley said. The FAA also issued a special airworthiness bulletin for the same fuel tank issue in December 2012.

The service bulletin required R44 owners to fit the fuel tank with a bladder to improve the fuel system’s resistance to post-crash fuel tank leaks and fires.

The FAA did not mandate the replacements, according to NTSB records.

Several years before, in 2006, Robinson released a safety notice advising pilots and passengers to wear fireproof suits, gloves and helmets.

Sanger said a settlement in one of his cases in 2010 prompted the requirement for retrofitting tanks with bladders.

Conley said manufacturer’s records show that Schwarz’s R44, which exploded moments after impact Sunday, had been retrofitted with a bladder-type fuel tank.

“You can’t prevent all fires, but we’re looking to prevent post-crash fires in otherwise survivable accidents,” Sanger said.

Sanger added that it’s unlikely many helicopters are flying today without the bladder retrofit, although some may still have the original fuel tank.

“These tanks have proven to be extremely effective in minimizing fires in survivable accidents,” Conley said.

Knudson said the NTSB does not have additional comment or information on the crash beyond what was released Monday.

Lawsuits

Sanger has been practicing law for two decades and said he’s been involved in about a dozen R44-related cases.

There are several safety issues with R44s, including “mast bumping,” drive-belt system failures and rotor blade delamination.

In some situations, the high mast — the tower that extends from the top of the cabin to the rotor — can be hit by the rotor, causing an unbalanced condition in which the blades may hit the cabin, Sanger said.

Conditions such as turbulence, high travel speeds or certain pilot maneuvers can cause mast bumping.

The lamination on the rotors can also start to peel away if the helicopter is used in sandy or humid climates, making the aircraft less aerodynamic, Sanger said.

FAA compliance and regulations

FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said the issue of post-crash fires and crash-resistant fuel systems involves all makes of helicopters.

The NTSB has recommended that all newly manufactured helicopters have crash-resistant fuel systems installed.

According to the FAA, only seven manufacturers have built helicopter models that are fully compliant with the administration’s crash-resistant fuel-system safety standards. One Robinson helicopter, the R66, is on that list.

When developing aviation-related regulations, the FAA also must operate within the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which includes stipulations such as seeking the advice of interested parties, like the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee.

“We also must, under federal law, consider the cost and benefits of any regulatory actions,” Molinaro said.

The rulemaking advisory committee released a final report with recommendations on crash-resistant fuel systems on March 29. The report analyzed various helicopter crashes and determined the survivability of each crash, whether there was a post-crash fire, and the cause of the fire.

The Robinson R44 is mentioned once in the report, in a section about the material of fuel-tank liners for small versus large aircraft. In the section, the report states in-tank bladders have “ a proven field history of significantly reducing post-crash fire rates as was demonstrated in this report.”


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WILLIAMSBURG —Investigators have recovered the engine from the Robinson R44 Raven that crashed into a Williamsburg condominium building on Sunday, killing the pilot and a 91-year-old woman who lived in the complex.

Representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, the helicopter company and the engine’s manufacturer remained at the scene Tuesday, along with Williamsburg fire crews and members of the Virginia State Police.

One investigator was observed looking over the engine, while another was seen photographing parts of the aircraft that had been recovered from the heavily damaged building in the Bristol Commons neighborhood.

The Robinson R44 Raven is a small utility helicopter manufactured by the Robinson Helicopter Co. of Torrance, California. The rotorcraft, which can seat one pilot and three passengers, is powered by a 245-horsepower, six-cylinder engine made by Lycoming Engines of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. It is 38 feet long and has a main rotor with a radius of 16½ feet, according to the manufacturer.

Doug Brazy, a  National Transportation Safety Board investigator, told reporters on Monday that the helicopter is about the size of a small car.

The crash happened shortly after 4:30 p.m. Sunday when the helicopter, which had taken off just minutes before from the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport, slammed into a 10-unit townhome building in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive. According to witnesses, the craft exploded moments after impact, sparking a fire that engulfed much of the building.

Charley Rogers, a fixed-based operator at the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport, confirmed that the pilot was Henry Schwarz of Alexandria, Virginia. Schwarz, the sole occupant onboard the aircraft, had taken off from the airport at 4:26 p.m. Sunday, Rogers said.

Federal Aviation Administration records show the helicopter has been registered to Schwarz since 2004.

The crash also killed Jean Lonchak Danylko, who lived in a first-floor townhouse in the building that was hit.

The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to issue a preliminary report on the crash within the next 10 to 14 days, Brazy said Monday.


Story and video ➤ https://wydaily.com



(WILLIAMSBURG, Va.) — One person is dead and the pilot of a helicopter is missing after a helicopter crashed into a condo complex in the popular destination town of Williamsburg, Virginia, on Sunday.

Virginia State Police said they responded to the crash in the Bristol Commons condominium complex just before 5 p.m. The crash caused the condo building to catch on fire, authorities said. Eyewitness video showed flames and thick smoke engulfing the entire two-story building.

State police confirmed one person in the condo building was killed in the accident.

The Federal Aviation Administration said on Twitter late Sunday that the accident involved an Robinson R44 Raven and only the pilot was on board. State police had said earlier in the evening they were still searching for the pilot. However, the FAA later said there were multiple victims.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are still investigating the cause of the accident.

Cmdr. Dave Hecht, spokesperson for Norfolk Naval Air Force Atlantic, told Hampton, Virginia, ABC affiliate WVEC that all of its helicopters were accounted for, but couldn’t say whether the helicopter may have belonged to another branch of the military.

The accident took place in a residential area near the campus of William and Mary, which warned people to stay away from the area.

Williamsburg is a popular tourist location with Colonial Williamsburg, an historical recreation of the 18th century town, and the amusement park Busch Gardens. The city includes many condominium timeshares.



WILLIAMSBURG — A person died in a condominium building that caught fire after being hit by a helicopter Sunday.

The 10-unit building in the Bristol Commons neighborhood of Williamsburg was gutted by the fire, which still wasn’t deemed under control hours after the crash.

Virginia State Police said there was one confirmed fatality in the building, and search and rescue is still ongoing. The person who died was not the pilot of the helicopter, state police spokeswoman Michelle Anaya said. Other identifying information was not available.

The building in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive was hit around 4:42 p.m., according to Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

Other details — including how the crash happened, other injuries or type of helicopter — were not available by press time.

Residents who saw and heard the crash said before state police released information that it was a small helicopter that hit the building.

As crews battled the fire, pieces of the helicopter were visible on what was left of the structure. A piece of the building or the helicopter even fell on a firefighter. Much of the building was destroyed or damaged, but it looked to be contained to the one building in the complex.

Crews worked for several hours after the call came in. Along with Williamsburg fire and police personnel, College of William and Mary police, state police and York County’s drone team were at the scene.

The College of William and Mary sent out an alert about the crash, calling it an “aviation incident.” It advised the incident happened near the school’s Dillard Complex and told people to avoid the area.

Ironbound Road, which cuts between the apartment complex and the Dillard Complex, was closed for a couple hours after the crash.

As crews responded, dozens of people gathered around the building to watch.

Brook Sweeney, who lives across the street from the building that caught fire, said the impact sounded like a car crash.

Before that, he said, “I was upstairs when I heard what sounded like a helicopter flying really low overhead. The whole house shook and then I just heard a loud ‘bam’ and the whole house was on fire.”
Firefighters, police respond to aircraft crash reported in Williamsburg

Officials respond Sunday to a reported aircraft crash in a residential area in Williamsburg’s Settlement Drive.

Afterward, he helped out some people who lived in the building, he said, giving them water, clothes if they needed them, and getting them away from the commotion of firefighters working the scene and the people watching.

Donald Johnson, who lives in an apartment in the building that was hit, said, “It was 10 feet away from me. I was downstairs on the first floor when that thing hit and I had never heard a noise like that in my life. I just walked out and looked and got out, I was afraid it would blow up.”

Peggy Weiss also lives in the neighborhood and said she saw a small, rickety-looking helicopter crash in between two buildings.

Police said multiple agencies were working to identify and locate the pilot of the helicopter.

Anaya said crews couldn’t go into the building still around 8:45 p.m. because of hot spots inside. She expected the investigation to continue up to three days.

She did not know how many were displaced, but said the Red Cross was assisting people.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were notified of the crash. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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


Update 8 p.m. Sunday: Virginia State Police have confirmed at least one person is dead after a helicopter crashed into a residential building in Williamsburg Sunday.

Virginia State Police, as well as local and federal agencies, are still working to locate and identify the pilot of the helicopter, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.

Search and recovery efforts are ongoing inside the building, which is located in Bristol Commons in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Update 7:30 p.m. Sunday: The Federal Aviation Administration has arrived at the scene of a helicopter crash in the Bristol Commons neighborhood in Williamsburg.

In a tweet around 7:30 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said safety inspectors had arrived on scene and would release details about the crash as soon as information is available.

Update 6:50 p.m. Sunday: Virginia State Police are leading an investigation into a helicopter crash in Williamsburg.

The helicopter crashed into a residential building in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive in Bristol Commons Sunday afternoon, starting a fire in one of the buildings, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.

Police responded to the emergency call at 4:42 p.m., Geller said.

“At this time, state police with the assistance of Williamsburg Police are still assessing the scene to determine what injuries, if any, have occurred and to identify the type of aircraft,” Geller said.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were also on their way to the scene at 6:50 p.m.

Ironbound Road is back open to regular traffic, Williamsburg Police spokesman Maj. Greg Riley said.

Original story:

Authorities are on the scene of an “aviation incident” near the Dillard Complex in Williamsburg.

Fire crews and law enforcement from several localities — including James City County, Williamsburg and York County — are on the scene in the Bristol Commons neighborhood off Ironbound Road.

The crash occurred in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive.

A William & Mary tweet instructed residents to avoid the area. Ironbound Road is closed between Longhill Road and Treyburn Drive.

Several witnesses on scene said they saw a helicopter in distress in the area shortly before hearing sirens.

Paul Leslie, who lives in a building near the location of the crash, said he heard a helicopter “come overhead” that “basically didn’t sound right.”

He witnessed the helicopter crash into one of the buildings in Bristol Commons, heard an explosion, then saw the fire start, he said.

“Everybody here responded very quickly to get people out of the building,” Leslie said.

Leslie believes there are 10 apartments in the building, and he and others banged on all the doors of all the apartments to make sure people were out of the building.

Another resident, Brook Sweeney, has lived across the street from the affected apartment unit since October 2017. He lives with his girlfriend, Kaeley Claredy.

He said he thought the noise he heard was a motor vehicle accident.

“The way my house shook — it shook and shook,” Sweeney said. “It was like nothing I’d ever felt or heard before.”

At 5:55 p.m., Williamsburg Police spokesman Maj. Greg Riley said police were working to clear traffic block on Ironbound Road so it would reopen for regular traffic. He said he hoped the road would be clear between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m.

Story and video ➤ https://wydaily.com



WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – At least one person was killed after a helicopter crashed sparked a fire at the Bristol Commons Townhomes near the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg Sunday afternoon.

Virginia State Police said troopers responded to a 911 call about an aircraft crashing into a "residential structure" in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive just before 4:45 p.m.

Officials at the College of William & Mary said the crash happened near the Dillard Complex.

"The impact of the crash caused a fire within the townhouse structure," troopers said.

Photos from Kaeley Clardy show firefighters batting a blaze at the building.

Chopper video from the area from after 6:30 p.m. showed most of the flames had been knocked down and firefighters working on the ground.

WTVR CBS 6 reporter Jake Burns estimated that damage to the complex is “incredibly extensive.”

State police said there was one confirmed fatality inside the townhouse complex as of 8:15 p.m.

"Federal, state and local police, with the assistance of the Williamsburg Fire Department, are working to locate and identify the pilot of the helicopter," troopers said.

A witness told Burns that he will never forgot the sound of the helicopter colliding with the side of this townhouse complex.

"One resident told me he spoke to a man who was 10 feet away from where the aircraft struck," Burns said. "That man was able to get to safety."

That witness suspected that authorities may have known the helicopter was in distress prior since he estimated crews arrived "30 seconds" after the crash. However, there has been no official word if that is the case.

Additionally, Burns said parts of the helicopter were strewn across the complex’ parking lot and driveway.

Troopers are working to determine what type of aircraft crashed into the building.

Officials said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are responding to the crash scene.

Story and video ➤ https://wtvr.com



WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – A helicopter crash sparked a fire at the Bristol Commons Townhomes near the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg Sunday afternoon.

Virginia State Police said troopers responded to a 911 call about an aircraft crashing into a "residential structure" in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive just before 4:45 p.m.

Officials at the College of William & Mary said the crash happened near the Dillard Complex.

"The impact of the crash caused a fire within the townhouse structure," troopers said.

Photos from Kaeley Clardy show firefighters batting a blaze at the building.

Chopper video from the area from after 6:30 p.m. showed most of the flames had been knocked down and firefighters working on the ground.

WTVR CBS 6 reporter Jake Burns estimated that damage to the complex is “incredibly extensive.”

A witness told Burns that he will never forgot the sound of the helicopter colliding with the side of this townhouse complex.

State police with help from Williamsburg Police were still assessing the scene to determine if anyone was injured as of 7:10 p.m.

"One resident told me he spoke to a man who was 10 feet away from where the helicopter struck," Burns said. "That man was able to get to safety."

That witness suspected that authorities may have known the helicopter was in distress prior since he estimated crews arrived "30 seconds" after the crash. However, there has been no official word if that is the case.

Additionally, Burns said parts of the helicopter were strewn across the complex’ parking lot and driveway.

Troopers are working to determine what type of aircraft crashed into the building.

Officials said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are responding to the crash scene.

Story and video ➤ https://wtvr.com














Williamsburg, Va. — A helicopter crashed Sunday into a residential townhome building in Williamsburg, Virginia near the campus of William & Mary, authorities said.

Williamsburg police told WRAL News that the helicopter went down after 4:30 p.m. in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive. Authorities have not yet said if any injuries or deaths have been reported as a result of the crash.

The communications office of the College of William & Mary tweeted that an "aviation incident" has been reported in a residential area near Dillard Complex.

The impact of the crash ignited a fire at the building, which is surrounded by other residential units.

Video from the scene shows that the roof of a building was apparently sheared off and a large amount of charred debris was visible at the site. Smoke was seen rising from the crash location, and there was a small portion of a roof that was still burning around 6 p.m.

A spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police said the cause of the crash is under investigation.

It was not immediately clear who owned the helicopter.

People who live in the area described hearing a low-flying helicopter before a loud explosion and fire.

"I was downstairs on the first floor when that thing hit and I had never heard a noise like that in my life," Donald Johnson, told the Virginian-Pilot.

Story and video ➤ https://www.wral.com