Sunday, February 24, 2019

D & K Aviation Baby Belle, N211CJ: Accident occurred July 18, 2017 at Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport (KSPA), South Carolina

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Columbia, South Carolina

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


http://registry.faa.gov/N211CJ


Location: Spartanburg, SC
Accident Number: ERA17LA256
Date & Time: 07/18/2017, 2030 EDT
Registration: N211CJ
Aircraft: D & K AVIATION BABY BELLE
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 18, 2017, at 2030 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Baby Belle helicopter, N211CJ, was substantially damaged during a hard landing near Spartanburg, South Carolina. The private pilot sustained minor injuries. The helicopter was registered to a private company and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations part 91 as a local, personal flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that originated at Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport (SPA), Spartanburg, South Carolina at 2000.

According to the pilot, he was returning from a local flight around the airfield and was preparing to land. While flying about 4 ft above ground level at an indicated airspeed between 16 to 24 mph, he felt a shudder and the helicopter yawed to the right. He added left antitorque pedal input and overcorrected, then adjusted with right antitorque pedal input, which confirmed he had tail rotor authority. He reported that when the helicopter straightened out, he did not recall hearing any engine noise, although he had the doors off. The next thing he recalled was that he was on the ground and the helicopter was leaking fuel. He also reported he did not hear any horns or audible annunciations.

The pilot recovered the wreckage to a storage facility and reported the event to the National Transportation Safety Board on July 24. Initial examination of the wreckage revealed that the airframe sustained substantial damaged during the accident. The main rotor blades were bent and delaminated and the tailboom was severed.

Subsequent examination of the wreckage revealed control continuity from the cyclic and collective controls in the cockpit to the main rotor area. All fractures in the collective and cyclic control linkages were consistent with overload. Continuity was also established from the antitorque pedals to the tail cone. The tail rotor drive shaft was severed in multiple places. All fractures on the tail rotor drive shaft exhibited overload signatures and the bearings moved freely. The 90ยบ gearbox rotated freely without binding.

An initial examination of the engine revealed that the crankshaft would not rotate. Further examination revealed oil in two of the cylinders resulting in a hydraulic lock condition. After the oil was drained, the engine could be turned freely. A test run of the engine was subsequently performed. The engine started normally using the cockpit controls and ran without evidence of a malfunction or anomaly.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records, the pilot did not possess a rotorcraft-helicopter rating at the time of the accident. The pilot reported 46 hours of rotorcraft flight experience, all in the make and model of the accident helicopter. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 53, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/09/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/06/2016
Flight Time:  760 hours (Total, all aircraft), 46 hours (Total, this make and model), 760 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 56 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 25 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: D & K AVIATION
Registration: N211CJ
Model/Series: BABY BELLE NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2000
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: DK1-1
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/29/2016, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1750 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 45 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 325 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: O-360-C2C
Registered Owner: D-B-G AVIATION INC
Rated Power: 150
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: SPA, 801 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 0035 UTC
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.07 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Spartanburg, SC (SPA)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Spartanburg, SC (SPA)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 2000 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Spartanburg Downtown Memorial (SPA)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 801 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude:  34.915833, -81.956389 (est)

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA256
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, July 18, 2017 in Spartanburg, SC
Aircraft: D & K AVIATION BABY BELLE, registration: N211CJ
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

On July 18, 2017, at 2030 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built D & K Aviation Baby Belle, N211CJ, was substantially damaged during an inflight loss of control and hard landing near Spartanburg, South Carolina. The private pilot received minor injuries. The helicopter was registered to a private company and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations part 91 as a local, personal flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated at Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport (SPA), Spartanburg, South Carolina at 2000.

According to the pilot, he was returning from the local flight and was preparing to land. At 4 feet above the ground, and between 16 and 24 mph, the helicopter yawed to the right. He corrected the yaw with pedal inputs. He subsequently lost control of the helicopter, and it impacted the ground hard, coming to rest on its side.

The pilot recovered the wreckage to a storage facility and reported the event to the National Transportation Safety Board on July 24. Initial examination of the wreckage revealed that the airframe had incurred substantial damaged during the accident. The main rotor blades were bent and delaminated. The tail boom was severed.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records, the pilot did not possess a rotorcraft-helicopter rating at the time of the accident. The status of the helicopter's FAA registration was "expired."

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