Friday, March 01, 2019

Sikorsky HH-60L, ferry flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, N260MW: Accident occurred February 28, 2019 in Tullahoma, Tennessee

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Accident Number: ERA19TA110
Date & Time: 02/28/2019, 1500 CST
Registration: N260MW
Aircraft: SIKORSKY HH-60L
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Ferry 

On February 28, 2019, about 1500 central standard time, a Sikorsky HH-60L, N260MW, was substantially damaged when it struck trees and terrain in Tullahoma, Tennessee. The two commercial pilots received serious injuries. The ferry flight departed the Scottsboro Municipal Airport (4A6), Scottsboro, Alabama, at an unknown time, destined for the Tullahoma Regional Airport (THA), Tullahoma, Tennessee, and was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site, and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed.

According to the ferry permit application, the purpose of the flight was to reposition the helicopter for maintenance and inspection. The special airworthiness certificate and ferry flight permit were issued for the flight from Enterprise Municipal Airport (EDN), Enterprise, Alabama, to THA, which included a restriction for visual flight rules operation.

According to the pilot-in-command, the crew departed EDN earlier that morning, destined for THA. They had stopped at 4A6, which was about 42 miles from the destination, for fuel and lunch. He recalled that the weather at that time appeared to be clear. They departed from 4A6 with no issues. While enroute to THA, the pilot recalled that they had encountered weather and were attempting to turn around when the accident occurred. He said there were no problems or issues with the helicopter. He did not recall any further details about the accident sequence.

A witness located about one-half nautical mile from the accident site was outside her home when she heard the sound of a helicopter nearby. She could not see the helicopter due to the clouds, and she noted that it was raining lightly at the time. She said the helicopter sounded "really loud and low, as if it were trying to land behind her house." She heard the helicopter for about 30 seconds before hearing a loud "whump whump" sound followed by a loud boom.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)inspector revealed that all major components of the helicopter were present at the accident site. The fuselage came to rest on its left side and nearly inverted, at the edge of a wooded area. The majority of the tailboom was in an adjacent tree about 30 feet above the ground. The main rotor blades were all separated from the hub, fragmented, and strewn across an area about 100 yards in diameter.

Both the pilot and the copilot held commercial rotorcraft certificates with instrument ratings, and both held type ratings for the accident helicopter make and model. The pilot was issued an FAA second-class medical certificate on August 1, 2018, at which time he reported 6,300 hours of total flight experience. The copilot was issued an FAA second-class medical certificate on March 3, 2018, at which time he reported 6,800 hours of total flight experience.

The 1455 weather conditions reported at the THA, located about 2.5 nautical miles northeast of the accident site at an elevation of 1,084 ft mean sea level (MSL), included an overcast cloud ceiling at 300 ft above ground level (AGL), visibility 2.5 (statute) miles in mist, temperature 13° C, dew point 12° C. The visibility had reduced to 1 mile at the next recorded observation at 1515. A review of the graphical aviation forecast issued by the National Weather Service at 1302 revealed that overcast skies were expected in the area around the time of the accident with cloud bases at 1,100 ft MSL and tops at 9,000 ft MSL. Two airmen's meteorological information advisories were issued at 1200 and 1500, warning of instrument meteorological conditions expected in the area of the accident.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: SIKORSKY
Registration: N260MW
Model/Series: HH-60L
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Aircraft Investment Holdings Llc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Does Business As: Arista Aviation
Operator Designator Code: 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: THA, 1083 ft msl
Observation Time: 1455 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C / 12°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 310°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 300 ft agl
Visibility:  2.5 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.93 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: Scottsboro, AL (4A6)
Destination: Tullahoma, TN (THA) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 35.345833, -86.270278 (est)

Two people were injured after a helicopter crashed in Tullahoma on Thursday.

According to the FAA, a Sikorsky HH60 helicopter crashed in a field five miles south of Tullahoma just after 3 p.m. near the Coffee County/Moore County borders on private land.

One pilot was flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for treatment. The other pilot was taken to a local hospital for treatment. The conditions of the pilots are not known.

Tullahoma Police said the Coffee County Communications Center received a call at 3:16 p.m. from one of the two pilots of the civilian-owned helicopter.

Tullahoma Police, Tullahoma Fire, Coffee County EMS and the Moore County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene.

Tullahome Police Sgt.  Cory Brandon was able to locate the helicopter on foot in a remote area.

The helicopter was operated by Arista Aviation Services. In a news release, Arista Aviation COO Brian Cheek said the aircraft was on the way to a helicopter industry show in Atlanta that begins next week.

The FAA will investigate the crash and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the accident.

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Cheek sent News4 the following statement:

A HH-60L Black Hawk helicopter being operated by Arista Aviation Services went down in a deserted field Thursday afternoon near Tullahoma Airport in Tennessee. The aircraft was on its way to an annual helicopter industry trade show in Atlanta which begins next week.

The aircraft’s two experienced pilots were injured and taken to local hospital in the Nashville area. Their names and conditions are being withheld pending notification of their families.

Arista has notified and is cooperating with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board, which will investigate the incident that occurred in degraded weather conditions as the helicopter approached the airport. Arista is also cooperating with local emergency response and law enforcement officials.

Arista is a FAA part 145 repair station, which is based in Enterprise, Alabama. Arista provides maintenance and modifications to an assortment of rotor wing platforms operated both domestically and internationally for a variety of missions, whch include firefighting and construction.

Story and video ➤

TULLAHOMA, Tenn. (WTVF) — A helicopter crashed hurting the pilot and co-pilot this happened shortly after 3 p.m. today in a field near Tullahoma.

Emergency lights flashed along Cumberland springs road near Tullahoma as law enforcement began to piece together how a helicopter came crashing down.

“The tail section appears to be broken up in a tree, the main part of the aircraft is somewhat upside down,” said Metro Moore County Sheriff Tyler Hatfield.

It was around 3:15 Thursday evening when a call came into Coffee County dispatch that a Sikorsky HH60 helicopter went down.

Emergency response officials say the sounds of the crash could be heard throughout parts of Moore and Coffee Counties while first responders raced to the scene.

The helicopter crashed in a Moore County field five miles south of Tullahoma, inside were two injured pilots.

“Both were awake and talking in quite a bit of pain,” said Hatfield.

One pilot managed to call 9-1-1 and both were able to crawl out of the privately-owned aircraft.

But one pilot had to be Vanderbilt Life Flight to the hospital with neck and back injuries. While other was transported by EMS to a hospital for evaluation.

At this point, it's not clear why the pilots were flying in the area.

The crash will now be investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause.

Story and video ➤

1 comment:

  1. Why has the NTSB not issued a preliminary report on this accident?