Saturday, March 30, 2019

Midair Collision: Beech A36 Bonanza, N777YF and Robinson R44 Raven II, N878BC, accident occurred January 26, 2018 at Northern Colorado Regional Airport (KFNL), Loveland, Larimer County, Colorado



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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado

N878BC Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


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

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N878BC

Location: Loveland, CO
Accident Number: CEN18LA087A
Date & Time: 01/26/2018, 1140 MST
Registration: N878BC
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Midair collision
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

Analysis 

The accident occurred when a helicopter (N878BC) and an airplane (N777YF) collided midair while on approach to the airport. The helicopter pilot intended to fly a practice instrument approach to the runway, perform the missed approach procedure, and enter the published holding pattern. The airplane pilot intended to enter the traffic pattern, with appropriate spacing, for a full stop landing on the same runway. The airplane pilot had the helicopter in sight and was following the helicopter to the runway. While on final approach, the airplane pilot thought that the helicopter had entered a hover and asked the helicopter pilot about his intentions. The helicopter pilot indicated that he would be flying the missed approach procedure and then returning to the airport, but the airplane pilot incorrectly heard the helicopter pilot's response and believed that the helicopter was going to hover near the end of the runway and then proceed to the east. As a result, the airplane pilot expected the helicopter to be east of the airport, which was a common location for local helicopter training, when the airplane would be landing; however, the helicopter was on approach to the runway at that time. During the airplane's approach, the airplane pilot lost sight of the helicopter. The airplane continued to land and collided with the helicopter.


Probable Cause and Findings


The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The airplane pilot's failure to see and avoid the helicopter while in the traffic pattern, which resulted in a midair collision between the two aircraft. Contributing to the accident was the airplane pilot's misunderstanding of the helicopter pilot's intentions and the airplane pilot's expectation that the helicopter would be clear of the runway.

Findings


Personnel issues

Monitoring other aircraft - Pilot of other aircraft (Cause)
Expectation/assumption - Pilot of other aircraft (Factor)
Understanding/comprehension - Pilot of other aircraft (Factor)

Factual Information

On January 26, 2018, about 1140 mountain standard time, a Robinson R44 II helicopter, N878BC, and a Beech A36 airplane, N777YF, collided while on approach to the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport (KFNL), Loveland, Colorado. The pilot in the helicopter sustained minor injuries and the pilot and passenger in the airplane were not injured. The helicopter was owned and operated by a private individual and the airplane was owned and operated by Landsgaard Equipment Leasing LLC. Visual metrological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The helicopter departed Century Helicopters Heliport (0CO7), Fort Collins, Colorado, at 1100, and the airplane departed the Greely-Weld County Airport (KGXY), at 1110. Both intended to land at KFNL.


According to the helicopter pilot, when he approached KFNL, he announced on the common traffic advisory frequency, his intention to fly the RNAV GPS approach for runway 33. There was a National Guard UH60 helicopter flying the ILS 33 procedure. The pilots of the Guard helicopter intended to fly the ILS 33 to a missed approach, and then depart the area. The helicopter pilot informed them of his intention to perform the RNAV GPS 33 approach, perform the published missed approach procedures, and then enter the published holding pattern. He then heard the airplane pilot ask the UH60 if they intended to fly all the way to the end of the runway before turning east. They replied that they would be close to the end during the missed approach. The helicopter pilot continued the approach and the airplane pilot called that he was on the downwind, had the helicopter in sight, and would extend the downwind to give spacing. The helicopter pilot replied that he would fly the missed approach procedure and then return to the airport. The helicopter pilot heard the airplane pilot reply, "good." While descending towards the airport, the airplane pilot asked the helicopter pilot if he was stopping there, which the helicopter pilot replied that was still descending, and then intended to fly the missed approach. The airplane pilot then stated that he was passing overheard. Shortly after, the helicopter and the airplane collided.


According to the airplane pilot, he approached KFNL from the east, and announced his initial position of 6-7 miles out. He heard other traffic conducting missed approaches and reported 2 miles and 1 mile out to coordinate with the local traffic. He announced crossing the field for the left downwind for runway 33 and proceeded into the pattern. While on the downwind leg for 33 and abeam the numbers he lowered the landing gear in preparation for landing. About that time the other pilot announced a straight in approach for 33, the airplane pilot saw that the aircraft was at a higher altitude, but he could see the aircraft was coming in on the approach approximately 4-5 miles out. On the radio, the airplane pilot offered to extend the downwind leg to allow the aircraft to complete its missed approach. On the base turn to final, the airplane pilot realized that the other aircraft was a helicopter and not an airplane. The helicopter continued its approach and when it was over the airport fence, the airplane turned onto final approach. About 4 miles south of the runway the airplane pilot said he could see the helicopter hovering south of the runway threshold, about ½ to ¾ mile from the end of the runway. He queried the helicopter pilot about his intentions, and he heard the helicopter pilot say that he was going to hover for a bit and then depart to the east. The airplane pilot replied "okay" and stated that he intended to fly over him for a full stop landing. The helicopter pilot responded "okay," so the airplane pilot proceeded to land on runway 33. During the approach, the airplane pilot lost sight of the helicopter. Expecting the helicopter to remain in a hover south of the runway, the airplane continued to land, descended, and collided with the helicopter. The helicopter descended, impacted terrain, and rolled on its right side resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage, and tailboom. After colliding with the helicopter, the airplane pilot saw the gear indicator show an unsafe right main landing gear. The airplane touched down on the left main landing gear and the pilot kept the right wing up for as long as possible. As the airplane slowed, the damaged right main touched down and the airplane departed the right side of the runway and came to rest in the adjacent grass.


The responding Federal Aviation Administration Inspector auditioned audio from the UNICOM frequency. He did not hear the helicopter pilot transmit that he intended to hover.


The airplane pilot stated that east of the runway 33/15 is where the local helicopter traffic usually performs their training, so he was expecting this helicopter to do the same.




History of Flight

Approach
Midair collision (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial

Age: 51, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/25/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/16/2017
Flight Time:  2000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 800 hours (Total, this make and model), 2000 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 102 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 13 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information


Aircraft Manufacturer: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY

Registration: N878BC
Model/Series: R44 II II
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 11530
Landing Gear Type: Ski;
Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/29/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection: 49 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1479.8 Hours
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT:  C91A installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-AE1A5
Registered Owner: MOATS JESSE R
Rated Power: 245 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: KFNL, 5015 ft msl
Observation Time: 1156 MST
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 246°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 4°C / -13°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 18 knots, 330°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: FORT COLLINS, CO (0CO7)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Longmont, CO (FNL)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1100 MST
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information


Airport: NORTHERN COLORADO RGNL (FNL)

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 5015 ft
Runway Surface Condition:
Runway Used: 33
IFR Approach: Global Positioning System; Practice; RNAV
Runway Length/Width: 8500 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Go Around

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:  40.440000, -105.007222 (est)



N777YF Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


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

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N777YF



Location: Loveland, CO
Accident Number: CEN18LA087B
Date & Time: 01/26/2018, 1140 MST
Registration: N777YF
Aircraft: BEECH A36
Aircraft Damage: Minor
Defining Event: Midair collision
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

Analysis 

The accident occurred when a helicopter (N878BC) and an airplane (N777YF) collided midair while on approach to the airport. The helicopter pilot intended to fly a practice instrument approach to the runway, perform the missed approach procedure, and enter the published holding pattern. The airplane pilot intended to enter the traffic pattern, with appropriate spacing, for a full stop landing on the same runway. The airplane pilot had the helicopter in sight and was following the helicopter to the runway. While on final approach, the airplane pilot thought that the helicopter had entered a hover and asked the helicopter pilot about his intentions. The helicopter pilot indicated that he would be flying the missed approach procedure and then returning to the airport, but the airplane pilot incorrectly heard the helicopter pilot's response and believed that the helicopter was going to hover near the end of the runway and then proceed to the east. As a result, the airplane pilot expected the helicopter to be east of the airport, which was a common location for local helicopter training, when the airplane would be landing; however, the helicopter was on approach to the runway at that time. During the airplane's approach, the airplane pilot lost sight of the helicopter. The airplane continued to land and collided with the helicopter.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The airplane pilot's failure to see and avoid the helicopter while in the traffic pattern, which resulted in a midair collision between the two aircraft. Contributing to the accident was the airplane pilot's misunderstanding of the helicopter pilot's intentions and the airplane pilot's expectation that the helicopter would be clear of the runway. 

Findings

Personnel issues
Monitoring other aircraft - Pilot (Cause)
Expectation/assumption - Pilot (Factor)
Understanding/comprehension - Pilot (Factor)

Factual Information

On January 26, 2018, about 1140 mountain standard time, a Robinson R44 II helicopter, N878BC, and a Beech A36 airplane, N777YF, collided while on approach to the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport (KFNL), Loveland, Colorado. The pilot in the helicopter sustained minor injuries and the pilot and passenger in the airplane were not injured. The helicopter was owned and operated by a private individual and the airplane was owned and operated by Landsgaard Equipment Leasing LLC. Visual metrological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The helicopter departed Century Helicopters Heliport (0CO7), Fort Collins, Colorado, at 1100, and the airplane departed the Greely-Weld County Airport (KGXY), at 1110. Both intended to land at KFNL.

According to the helicopter, when he approached KFNL, he announced on the common traffic advisory frequency, his intention to fly the RNAV GPS approach for runway 33. There was a National Guard UH60 helicopter flying the ILS 33 procedure. The pilots of the Guard helicopter intended to fly the ILS 33 to a missed approach, and then depart the area. The helicopter pilot informed them of his intention to perform the RNAV GPS 33 approach, perform the published missed approach procedures, and then enter the published holding pattern. He then heard the airplane ask the UH60 if they intended to fly all the way to the end of the runway before turning east. They replied that they would be close to the end during the missed approach. The helicopter pilot continued the approach and the airplane pilot called that he was on the downwind, had the helicopter in sight, and would extend the downwind to give spacing. The helicopter pilot replied that he would fly the missed approach procedure and then return to the airport. The helicopter pilot heard the airplane pilot reply, "good." While descending towards the airport, the airplane pilot asked the helicopter pilot if he was stopping there, which the helicopter pilot replied that was still descending, and then intended to fly the missed approach. The airplane pilot then stated that he was passing overheard. Shortly after, the helicopter and the airplane collided.

According to the airplane pilot, he approached KFNL from the east, and announced his initial position of 6-7 miles out. He heard other traffic conducting missed approaches and reported 2 miles and 1 mile out to coordinate with the local traffic. He announced crossing the field for the left downwind for runway 33 and proceeded into the pattern. While on the downwind leg for 33 and abeam the numbers he lowered the landing gear in preparation for landing. About that time the other pilot announced a straight in approach for 33, the airplane pilot saw that the aircraft was at a higher altitude, but he could see the aircraft was coming in on the approach approximately 4-5 miles out. On the radio, the airplane pilot offered to extend the downwind leg to allow the aircraft to complete its missed approach. On the base turn to final, the airplane pilot realized that the other aircraft was a helicopter and not an airplane. The helicopter continued its approach and when it was over the airport fence, the airplane turned onto final approach. About 4 miles south of the runway the airplane pilot said he could see the helicopter hovering south of the runway threshold, about ½ to ¾ mile from the end of the runway He queried the helicopter pilot about his intentions, and he heard the helicopter say that he was going to hover for a bit and then depart to the east. The airplane pilot replied "okay" and stated that he intended to fly over him for a full stop landing. The helicopter pilot responded "okay," so the airplane pilot proceeded to land on runway 33. During the approach, the airplane pilot lost sight of the helicopter. Expecting the helicopter to remain in a hover south of the runway, the airplane continued to land, descended, and collided with the helicopter. The helicopter descended, impacted terrain, and rolled on its right side resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage, and tailboom. After colliding with the helicopter, the airplane pilot saw the gear indicator show an unsafe right main landing gear. The airplane touched down on the left main landing gear and the pilot kept the right wing up for as long as possible. As the airplane slowed, the damaged right main touched down and the airplane departed the right side of the runway and came to rest in the adjacent grass.

The responding Federal Aviation Administration Inspector auditioned audio from the UNICOM frequency. He did not hear the helicopter pilot transmit that he intended to hover.

The airplane pilot stated that east of the runway 33/15 is where the local helicopter traffic usually performs their training, so he was expecting this helicopter to do the same.

History of Flight

Approach
Midair collision (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 55, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present:
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/16/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/28/2017
Flight Time:  620 hours (Total, all aircraft), 320 hours (Total, this make and model), 620 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 37 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 20 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BEECH
Registration: N777YF
Model/Series: A36 UNDESIGNATED
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1989
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: E-2495
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/14/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3651 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 40 Hours
Engines:  Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2540 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-550-B6F
Registered Owner: LANDSGAARD EQUIPMENT LEASING LLC
Rated Power: 200 hp
Operator: LANDSGAARD EQUIPMENT LEASING LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KFNL, 5015 ft msl
Observation Time: 1156 MST
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 246°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 4°C / -13°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 18 knots, 330°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: GREELEY, CO (GXY)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Longmont, CO (FNL)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1110 MST
Type of Airspace: Class E 

Airport Information

Airport: NORTHERN COLORADO RGNL (FNL)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 5015 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 33
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 8500 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing:  Full Stop; Traffic Pattern 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Minor
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  40.440000, -105.007222 (est)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I get nervous anytime I see or hear a helicopter in the airport traffic pattern. Bad things tend to happen when they get too close together. There's a video on Youtube of a Cirrus landing right after a large military helicopter departed and he catches the rotor wash and it flips him inverted just as he's in the flare causing him to crash. Luckily he wasn't killed.