Saturday, February 2, 2019

Robinson R44 Raven II, N484AB: Accident occurred January 08, 2019 near Garner Field Airport (KUVA), Uvalde, Texas

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Uvalde, TX
Accident Number: CEN19LA065
Date & Time: 01/08/2019, 1000 CST
Registration: N484AB
Aircraft: Robinson R44
Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On January 8, 2019, about 1000 central standard time, a Robinson R44 II helicopter, experienced a hard landing during an autorotation following a loss of tail rotor effectiveness while maneuvering shortly after takeoff from Garner Field Airport, Uvalde, Texas. The flight instructor sustained minor injuries, the student pilot was not injured, and the helicopter sustained substantial damage. The helicopter was registered to and operated by a private individual as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the flight instructor, all pre-takeoff checks were normal with no anomalies noted. Once the helicopter was through effective translational lift and about 40 knots airspeed, the collective was raised to increase the available power to takeoff power setting. Shortly thereafter, a loud pop/bang was heard with an uncommanded right yaw and severe vibrations. Due to the low altitude and airspeed, the flight instructor immediately initiated an autorotation. Upon touchdown, the helicopter titled forward with the main rotor blades about 6 inches from contacting the ground. The flight instructor applied aft cyclic to correct, and the main rotor blades contacted the tailboom.

Postaccident examination of the helicopter revealed the tailboom was partially separated, and the tail rotor driveshaft system was damaged. The helicopter was recovered to a helicopter maintenance facility. During the examination, the clutch lubricant was drained and an unusual amount of metallic debris was noted in the strainer. The clutch was removed and sent to Robinson Helicopter Company for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N484AB
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:
Observation Time: 0930 CST
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C / 15°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.95 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Uvalde, TX (UVA)
Destination: Uvalde, TX (UVA) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 29.210278, -99.743056 (est)

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