Sunday, November 4, 2018

Boeing-Stearman A75N1, N67916: Kauai crop duster Joseph E. Bell Jr. worked for 8 sugar plantations



Born in Oak Park, Illinois, World War II fighter pilot Joseph E. Bell Jr. (1925-1967) had accumulated seven years of experience as a crop duster in Arizona before joining Murrayair Ltd. on the Big Island in 1954.

Described as being one of the world’s best crop dusters, Bell transferred to Kauai in 1957, where at that time and for years to come sugar was cultivated in cane fields extending around Kauai from Kilauea to Mana, with eight sugar plantations in operation: Kilauea Sugar Co., Lihue Plantation, Grove Farm Plantation, McBryde Sugar Co., Olokele Sugar Co., Gay & Robinson Sugar Co., Waimea Sugar Co. and Kekaha Sugar Co.

On Kauai, Bell could be seen flying his 450-horsepower Stearman PT-13 biplane almost every morning six days a week, diving and climbing above canefields and skimming low over them to drop fertilizer pellets, or to spray cane ripener upon them, with an average load of 1,500 pounds, enough to spray 22 acres or fertilize four or five acres.

While dusting a Grove Farm canefield in July 1960, “I ran out of altitude, airspeed and ideas,” Bell later said.

His plane crashed and burned as a result, but he walked away, and after two days spent recuperating from chest injuries, he was back to work.

He often said, “If it’s the last thing I do before I die, I’m going to fly under the Hanalei Bridge,” and on Friday evening, July 14, 1967, he actually did fly his Murrayair Stearman biplane under it.

Then he landed in a pasture at Haena, took off, and was seen by residents of Hanalei, Wainiha and Haena gliding over the ocean and soaring high through aerial acrobatics, when suddenly he crashed near the Haena Dry Cave about 100 yards mauka of the main road and was killed.

Crop duster Joseph E. Bell Jr. was survived by his wife, Ellen Marie, his daughter, Judy, and three sons: Joseph E. III, Scott and John.

Original article ➤  http://www.thegardenisland.com

NTSB Identification: OAK68A0006
14 CFR Part 91 General Aviation
Aircraft: BOEING A75N1, registration: N67916

TYPE OF ACCIDENT                                       
COLLISION WITH GROUND/WATER: CONTROLLED 

PHASE OF OPERATION
IN FLIGHT: ACROBATICS

PROBABLE CAUSE
PILOT IN COMMAND - EXERCISED POOR JUDGMENT.

PLT INITIATED LOOP MANEUVER WITH INSUFFICIENT ALTITUDE FOR RECOVERY.

Beech 35 Bonanza, N5085C: Incident occurred November 03, 2018 at Double Eagle II Airport (KAEG), Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, New Mexico

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

Hard landing and gear collapsed, ran off the runway into the grass.

https://registry.faa.gov/N5085C

Date: 03-NOV-18
Time: 17:15:00Z
Regis#: N5085C
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 35
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91
City: ALBUQUERQUE
State: NEW MEXICO





ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Officials are investigating a plane crash at Double Eagle Airport.

It happened around 11:30 Saturday morning.

Albuquerque Fire Rescue says the single-engine aircraft reported a malfunction to their landing gear while landing.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported.

It is still unclear who or how many people were on the aircraft. 

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







Albuquerque Fire Rescue confirms an aircraft experienced a rough landing just before noon Saturday at the Double Eagle Airport.

Officials say the pilot was not injured but a HAZMAT crew has been deployed to clear up any debris or liquids.

There are no closures to the airport associated with this incident. 

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

Titan Tornado 1, N38FD: Fatal accident occurred November 04, 2018 near Louisa County Airport / Freeman Field (KLKU), 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

https://registry.faa.gov/N38FD 

Location: Louisa, VA
Accident Number: ERA19FA036
Date & Time: 11/04/2018, 1500 EST
Registration: N38FD
Aircraft: Titan TORNADO 1
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On November 4, 2018, about 1500 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Titan Tornado 1, N38FD, was substantially damaged when it impacted a field during approach to Louisa County Airport (LKU), Louisa, Virginia. The sport pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that departure LKU about 1415.

According to the airport manager at LKU, he had just landed his airplane about 1415 when the accident airplane departed. The accident airplane subsequently impacted a field adjacent to a solar farm about 1500. The solar farm was located about 1 mile northeast of LKU. The airport manager added that the solar farm was a common visual checkpoint for pilots planning a visual approach to runway 9, which was the runway in use at the time. Pilots would fly from the solar farm over the center of the airport about 2,000 feet mean sea level and then make a right descending turn to join the midfield right downwind leg of the airport traffic pattern.

The airplane came to rest on its right side and no debris path was observed. The wing separated from the airframe and more leading edge damage was noted on the right side of the wing. The flaps and ailerons remained attached to the wing and the flaps were in the retracted position. All major components of the airplane were accounted for and it was oriented about a magnetic heading of 220°. The empennage remained intact and undamaged. The elevator, elevator trim tab, and rudder remained attached. Control continuity was confirmed from all control surfaces to the cockpit area. The cockpit was crushed, but the pilot's four-point harness remained intact and was cut by rescue personnel.

A single 15-gallon fuel tank was located behind the pilot seat and a strong odor of fuel was present at the accident site. The engine appeared undamaged and fuel was recovered from the fuel filter and both carburetors. The fuel was blue, clear and consistent in color and odor to automobile gasoline with 1% blue two-cycle aviation oil mixed in. When the propeller was rotated by hand, camshaft, crankshaft, valve train, and compression were confirmed.

The pilot held a sport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration third-class medical certificate was issued on January 7, 2007 and he was not required to have a current medical certificate to operate as a sport pilot. Review of the pilot's logbook revealed that he had accrued a total flight experience of 636 hours; of which, about 48 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane. The pilot had flown approximately 6 hours during the 90-day period preceding the accident and all of those hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

The single-seat, high-wing, fixed tricycle-gear airplane, was assembled from a kit in 2016. It was powered by a Rotax 503, 52-hp engine, equipped with a ground adjustable, two-blade Ivoprop propeller. Review of the maintenance records revealed that the airplane's most recent condition inspection was completed on March 6, 2018. At that time, the airplane and engine had been operated 244 hours since new. The airplane flew an additional 21 hours, from the time of the last inspection, until the accident.

The engine was retained for further examination and a possible test-run. A handheld Garmin 295 GPS was retained and forwarded to the National Transportation Safety Board Vehicle Recorders Laboratory, Washington, DC.

The recorded weather at LKU, at 1455, was: wind from 120° at 7 knots; visibility 10 miles; scattered clouds at 4,800 ft; temperature 14° C; dew point 3° C, altimeter 30.44 in of mercury. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Titan
Registration: N38FD
Model/Series: TORNADO 1
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: KLKU, 479 ft msl
Observation Time: 1455 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 14°C / 3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 4800 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 120°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.44 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Louisa, VA (LKU)
Destination: Louisa, VA (LKU)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 38.024444, -77.960556

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.



LOUISA, VA (WWBT) - On Sunday afternoon, Virginia State Police responded to the scene of a reported plane crash in Louisa County.

The experimental airplane took off from the Louisa County Airport and later crashed clearing on a private property located in the 400 block of Chalk Level Road.

The pilot of the small, private airplane, Timothy M. Henson, 70, of Palmyra, VA, did not survive the crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have been notified.

The crash remains under investigation at this time.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.nbc12.com



LOUISA COUNTY, Virginia – One person is dead after a small plane crash in Louisa County Sunday afternoon.

Virginia State Police responded to crash in a small solar and cattle farm near the 400 block of Chalk Level Road at approximately 3:05 p.m.

The pilot of the small plane was killed during the crash, according to State Police. Officials are still in the process of confirming the pilot’s identity.

State Police, who are investigating the incident, said the crash occurred on private property in the county. That property is located two miles away from Freeman Field, the Louisa County Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have been notified, according to Virginia State Police.

Officials described the aircraft as a small, private airplane.

The crash remains under investigation.

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



LOUISA COUNTY, Virginia (WRIC) -- A pilot is dead after a small plane crash in Louisa County. 

According to authorities, the crash happened shortly after 3 p.m. in the 400 block of Chalk Level Road. 

Louisa County Police and Fire personnel were called to the scene in addition to State Police. 

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have been notified but have not yet arrived at the scene.

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

Cessna 150E, N3515J: Incident occurred November 04, 2018 near Air Acres Airport (5GA4), Woodstock, Cherokee County, Georgia

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

Departed and crashed in a field due to unknown circumstances.

https://registry.faa.gov/N3515J

Date: 04-NOV-18
Time: 14:33:00Z
Regis#: N3515J
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 150E
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 91
City: PEACHTREE CITY
State: GEORGIA





CHEROKEE COUNTY, Georgia -- Two men were taken to the hospital after crashing a Cessna 150 aircraft shortly after taking off in Cherokee County.

The plane was leaving from Air Acres, a private turf runway near Woodstock around 10 a.m., Sunday. Authorities say the plane did not get far off the ground before crashing in a nearby wooded area.

The pilot and passenger reported back discomfort at the scene and were taken to a local hospital.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.11alive.com

Bell 206B-3 JetRanger III, registered to and operated by W T Byler Company Inc, N417WT: Fatal accident occurred November 04, 2018 in Uvalde, Texas

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas
Federal Aviation Administration Rotorcraft Standards; Fort Worth, Texas
Bell Helicopters; Fort Worth, Texas
Rolls-Royce Corporation; Indianapolis, Indiana

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

https://registry.faa.gov/N417WT 

Location: Uvalde, TX
Accident Number: CEN19FA024
Date & Time: 11/04/2018, 0001 CST
Registration: N417WT
Aircraft: Bell 206
Injuries: 3 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On November 4, 2018, about 0001 central standard time, a Bell 206B helicopter, N417WT, impacted terrain near Uvalde, Texas. The airline transport rated pilot and two passengers were fatally injured, and the helicopter was destroyed. The helicopter was registered to and operated by W T Byler company, Inc. as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal fight. The flight departed a private ranch about 2345 en route to San Antonio.

The Uvalde County Sheriff's Office was notified of a possible downed aircraft northwest of Uvalde, Texas. A search effort of authorities and local volunteers found the wreckage about daybreak.

The helicopter had collided with the side of a 1,450 ft hill, located about 5 miles east of the ranch the helicopter had departed from, and about 71 miles west of the San Antonio International airport.

The NTSB Investigator-in-Charge (IIC) along with technical representatives from the airframe and engine manufacturers inspected the wreckage on site. The helicopter impacted the hill about 100 ft from the apex, a wreckage path estimated about 75-100 yds long ran along the hill to the main wreckage. First responders had attached ropes to the wreckage, to keep it from rolling down the steep hillside. The hillside also prevented a detailed examination of the wreckage on site.

After documentation of the accident site, the helicopter was transported to a salvage facility for a detailed examination at a later date.

At 0015, the automated weather observation facility located at the Garner Field Airport, Uvalde, Texas, located about 13 miles southeast of the accident site, recorded: wind at 030 degrees at 6 knots, 10 miles visibility, a clear sky, a temperature of 63 ?F, dew point 61 ?F, and an altimeter setting of 29.97. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell
Registration: N417WT
Model/Series: 206 B
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator:  W T Byler Co Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KUVA
Observation Time: 0515 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 13 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 16°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots / , 30°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Private Ranch, TX
Destination: San Antonio, TX (SAT)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 29.368056, -99.923889 (est)

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.

Gerald Green Lawrence

Mr. & Mrs. Byler




UVALDE, Texas — A newlywed couple died when the helicopter they were flying hours after their wedding crashed in the rugged terrain of southwest Texas. The 76-year-old pilot, Gerald Douglas Lawrence, was also killed. Federal transportation authorities said he was "very experienced" and it's too early to determine a cause of the accident.

William Troy Byler and Bailee Raye Ackerman Byler, both 24, were killed in the crash shortly after midnight Sunday about 10 miles northwest of Uvalde, said Steven Kennedy, justice of the peace for Uvalde County Precinct 1.


Craig Hatch, an air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said they will attempt to conduct a thorough initial examination of the wreck. However, the helicopter is located in a "precarious" spot on a side of a hill, a few miles from State Road 55, CBS affiliate KENS-TV reports.


"Because of how it's laid out on the side of the hill, we're not really able to go into the helicopter," Hatch said, adding that debris was scattered over about 100 yards.


KENS-TV points out NTSB investigators usually document and examine a crash site as much as they can before altering anything, similar to a crime scene. However, Hatch said it's almost impossible to do in a way where NTSB members don't "come tumbling down the side of the hill as well."


"We definitely saw a helicopter in a terrible state," said Rachel Kellner, a Texas Game Warden. Kellner was one of the first responders on the scene and said there was little they could do without any daylight.


The newlyweds were seniors at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, according to The Houstonian, the university's student newspaper. They married Saturday night at a large Byler family ranch near Uvalde and left aboard a Byler family helicopter after the reception, Kennedy said.


Lawrence had been a pilot for the family for years and had flown helicopters in Vietnam during his combat service, Kennedy said. An autopsy has been ordered on the pilot to determine if a physical condition might have been a factor in the crash, he said.


Hatch said Lawrence was "very experienced (and) highly qualified," adding he believed he had logged about 24,000 hours.


The cause of the crash hasn't been determined, but Hatch said a preliminary NTSB report will be issued in about two weeks. KENS-TV said it's also too early to tell if weather played any substantial role in the crash.


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






KENS 5 obtained brand new video of a bride and groom getting onto a helicopter on their way to their honeymoon. It's also the last time friends and family would see them alive.

The Texas couple's fairy-tale wedding ended in unbelievable tragedy on Sunday. Their chopper crashed north of Uvalde about 80 miles West of San Antonio.


Jacob Martinez filmed the video. He worked the couple's wedding and helped with their send-off. He recorded the final moments loved ones saw of Will and Bailee Byler.


"We sent them off with something that they will remember," he said. "It chokes me up because I saw them get in the helicopter, which seemed to be fine."


They took off just after midnight, and minutes after leaving their close family and friends, the chopper crashed. The college sweethearts were killed, along with 76-year-old pilot Gerald Green Lawrence. Friends of the family said he was a captain in the U.S. Army and a veteran of the Vietnam War. NTSB Air Safety Investigator Craig Hatch said Lawrence was an experienced pilot.


The helicopter crashed in rugged terrain near the ranch where the couple got married earlier Saturday.


"How it is laid out in the side of the hill, we are not able to go into the helicopter or the motor, or the engine because it is on the hill," Hatch said.


NTSB investigators are looking at several factors, including the pilot's history, the background of the chopper, and weather conditions. The next step is to recover it and do a detailed inspection.


"I can't put into words how you go from a happy ending to a tragedy," Martinez said.


The couple's friend's said they were due to graduate next month from Sam Houston State University. The NTSB's preliminary report won't be complete until at least another two weeks. Investigators say it is too early to tell what went wrong.


Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.kens5.com





UVALDE, Texas (KTRK) -- A couple who were just married for an hour and a half were killed Saturday night when their helicopter went down in Uvalde, Texas.

The groom's grandfather William Byler confirmed to Eyewitness News that the aircraft went down Saturday at their family ranch. His grandson Will Byler, Will's new wife Bailee Ackerman and the aircraft's pilot, Gerald Green Lawrence all died in the crash.

Eyewitness News spoke to Lawrence's stepdaughter, Amilyn Willard, who said he was a captain in the army and fought in Vietnam.

The National Transportation Safety Board in investigating the accident involving a Bell 206B helicopter. The accident happened about 15 miles northwest of Uvalde, according to NTSB's information.

The couple's wedding portal on planning website The Knot further confirmed their nuptials taking place on Nov. 3 in Uvalde on Byler's family ranch. Engagement photos also show Byler in his cowboy hat embracing Ackerman.

The Sam Houston State University students were surrounded by family and friends as they flew off in the family helicopter.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://abc13.com




UVALDE, Texas - A newlywed couple leaving their wedding ceremony in a helicopter died early Sunday morning when the helicopter crashed, according to a report from the Houstonian.

Will Byler, his wife, Bailee Ackerman Byler, and their pilot died in the crash, according to the Houstonian, the student newspaper for Sam Houston State University.

The newspaper reported that the Bylers were both in their senior year at the university.

Eric Smith, a friend of the Ackerman family, posted to Facebook early Sunday morning that the couple and the helicopter pilot had died in the crash after the ceremony.

Jacob Martinez, an individual working the event shared video of the moment the couple took off in the helicopter.

The Uvalde County Sheriff's Office said it received a call from an aviation monitoring center about a possible downed aircraft in northwest Uvalde around midnight. 

Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, game wardens, Border Patrol agents, the Uvalde Volunteer Fire Department and Uvalde Emergency Medical Services arrived in the area of Chalk Bluff Park off of Highway 55 to help search for the helicopter.

Authorities located the crashed helicopter around daybreak, the Sheriff's Office said.

The San Antonio Fire Department deployed 10 members of its Technical Rescue Team to assist the Federal Aviation Administration with the investigation, but they returned to San Antonio Sunday night.

National Transportation Safety Board said in a tweet Sunday morning that the helicopter involved is a Bell 206B.

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board said they would not release any information about the crash until Monday. 

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




"It is with deepest sadness that we announce the tragic passing of two Bearkats Will Byler (Agriculture Engineering senior) and Bailee Ackerman Byler (Agricultural Communication senior) in a helicopter accident departing their wedding. We ask that you keep the Byler and Ackerman families in your thoughts and prayers."  -The Houstonian 




ORANGE — A newlywed couple leaving their wedding ceremony in a helicopter died when their helicopter crashed, according to a report from the Houstonian.

Will Byler, his wife, Bailee Ackerman Byler, and their pilot died in the crash, according to the Houstonian, the student newspaper for Sam Houston State University.

Multiple sources have confirmed with 12News that Bailee Ackerman Byler was from Orangefield.

The newspaper reported that the Bylers were both in their senior year at the university.

The crash happened 80 miles west of San Antonio around midnight.

The Uvalde County Sheriff's office says the helicopter crashed near Chalk Bluff Park off Highway 55.

A twitter post from the National Transportation Safety Board says it was a Bell 206-B two bladed twin engine chopper that crashed.

There is no confirmation on how many people were killed in the crash and the cause of the accident.

We will not release the names of the victims until officials or family members have confirmed more information.

From a Uvalde County Sheriffs' Office news release...

At approx. 12 midnight on Saturday (11/3/18), Uvalde Police Communications received a call from an aviation monitoring center of a possible down aircraft in the area of Northwest Uvalde County.

After further investigation, Uvalde Co. Sheriff’s Office Deputies received coordinates of a possible more direct location of the aircraft in distress.

TX DPS Troopers, Game Wardens, Border Patrol, Uvalde Vol. Fire Dept, and Uvalde EMS arrived in the vicinity of Chalk Bluff Park off HWY 55 to assist with the search.

Upon break of day, the accident location was found and the Texas Dept. of Public Safety and the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the scene.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.12newsnow.com

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)