Sunday, March 10, 2019

Robinson R44 Raven II, N445KP: Accident occurred November 10, 2018 in Lihue, Hawaii

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Honolulu, Hawaii

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Lihue, HI
Accident Number: GAA19CA066
Date & Time: 11/10/2018, 1320 HST
Registration: N445KP
Aircraft: Robinson R44
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business - Sightseeing


The pilot reported that, before the helicopter tour flight, he had briefed the passengers, but they still attempted to take cell phones onboard without cases. He then gave the passengers cases and attached them to their wrists. During the flight, while the helicopter was flying about 100 knots, the right-side passenger held her cell phone and case outside of the cabin into the airflow, which resulted in the cell phone and case without the strap exiting the helicopter and subsequently impacting the tail rotor.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tail rotor.

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 passenger’s improper decision to hold her cell phone outside the helicopter, which resulted in it departing the helicopter and striking the tail rotor.


Personnel issues
Decision making/judgment - Passenger (Cause)

Environmental issues
Debris/dirt/foreign object - Effect on equipment (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Miscellaneous/other (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 36, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Helicopter; Instrument Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/16/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/30/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 2359.2 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1478 hours (Total, this make and model), 2315 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 313 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 103 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N445KP
Model/Series: R44 II
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 11693
Landing Gear Type: Skid;
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/24/2018, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2260 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2473.6 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-AE1A5
Registered Owner: Hawaii Pacific Aviation Inc
Rated Power: 235 hp
Operator: Hawaii Pacific Aviation Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Commercial Air Tour (136); Rotorcraft External Load (133) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PHLI, 148 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 9 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2353 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 84°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 5500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 20 knots / 27 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 360°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.98 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 14°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Lihue, HI (LIH)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Lihue, HI (LIH)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1310 HST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 None
Latitude, Longitude: 21.966944, -159.508333 (est)

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