Monday, March 18, 2019

Birdstrike: Hughes TH-55, N8045H; accident occurred March 13, 2019 near Dillant-Hopkins Airport (KEEN), Keene, Cheshire County, New Hampshire

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Keene, NH
Accident Number: GAA19CA168
Date & Time: 03/13/2019, 1800 EDT
Registration: N8045H
Aircraft: Hughes TH 55
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Birdstrike
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


The helicopter pilot reported that, while en route, about 2 miles northeast from his destination airport and about 500 ft above ground level and 60 knots, he heard a loud "thud" from a possible bird strike, and the upper right windscreen/canopy shattered, with pieces going into the main rotor disc and cabin. He continued to the airport and landed without further incident.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the main rotor blades.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The helicopter's collision with a bird during cruise flight.


Environmental issues Animal(s)/bird(s) - Effect on operation
Environmental issues Animal(s)/bird(s) - Ability to respond/compensate

Factual Information

History of Flight

Enroute Birdstrike (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Private
Age: 35, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/26/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/06/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 550 hours (Total, all aircraft), 25 hours (Total, this make and model), 415 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 44 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 7.2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1.4 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Hughes
Registration: N8045H
Model/Series: TH 55 269A
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1967
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 65-18240
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/15/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1670 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5317.2 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: HIO-360-B1A
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 180 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: KLEB, 570 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 19 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1156 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 189°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.34 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: -10°C / -11°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Keene, NH
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Keene, NH (EEN)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1745 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 488 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 32
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4001 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Precautionary 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:  42.898333, -72.270833 (est)

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