Saturday, April 27, 2019

Canadian Home Rotors Safari, operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal local flight, N330JT: Accident occurred September 27, 2016 in Andover, Merrimack County, New Hampshire

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

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Andover, NH
Accident Number: ERA16LA330
Date & Time: 09/27/2016, 1554 EDT
Registration: N330JT
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Abrupt maneuver
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 27, 2016, about 1554 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Safari helicopter, N330JT, collided with trees and terrain during takeoff near Andover, New Hampshire. The pilot sustained serious injuries, and the helicopter was destroyed by a postcrash fire. The helicopter was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal, local flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the flight which was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot, who did not hold a rotorcraft-helicopter category and class rating, stated that he pushed the helicopter out of the barn and onto a concrete pad and then added 10 gallons of 100 low lead fuel which filled both fuel tanks. He then performed a preflight inspection and found no discrepancies. After starting the engine, under calm wind, he flew to a pasture 20 to 25 ft away and landed, then practiced hovering, rearward flight, and turns. He then positioned the helicopter to a different portion of the field, which allowed for takeoff to the northwest towards trees. He lifted to a 5 ft hover (reported to be higher than usual because of rising terrain ahead), and added full power noting 27 inches of manifold pressure. Noting that the engine and main rotor tachometers were in the green arcs, he initiated takeoff and accelerated to between 25 and 30 mph. When the helicopter was above the height of a treeline ahead, the helicopter began, "a more vertical ascent than I could counteract with cyclic", with a corresponding decrease in airspeed. He adjusted the collective to maintain altitude and applied forward cyclic control input to increase airspeed. As the flight continued over the trees, the helicopter did not respond to forward cyclic control input. When near the far end of the trees, the "helicopter came to a complete stop" though the sound from the main rotor blades seemed to have increased. The helicopter yawed to the right and the nose dropped, then the tail boom "went down and swung left taking the helicopter into the trees." He exited the helicopter and was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Examination of the accident site revealed the helicopter came to rest in a wooded area resting against the base of a small tree. The helicopter was resting on its left side in a nose-low attitude, and was extensively damaged by a postcrash fire, which destroyed the cockpit, and also involved the engine compartment/main rotor area. The tail boom with tail rotor drive shaft was displaced down relative to normal orientation of the helicopter. All components necessary to sustain flight remained attached or were in close proximity. According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness inspector who examined the helicopter, although it was extensively heat damaged, there was no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. The inspector did note that although the pilot had a repairman certificate, there was no permanent maintenance records or evidence of a condition inspection being performed since the helicopter was built in 2004. An FAA operations inspector reported that the pilot did not have a medical certificate, and was "…teaching himself to fly."

Although the pilot did not have a current medical certificate, he indicated there was nothing physically wrong with him that caused the accident. He reported having 154 hours total time in the accident make and model helicopter, of which 144 hours were as pilot-in-command. In the last 90 days he reported accruing 2 hours in the accident helicopter.

According to a representative of the helicopter manufacturer, unexpected movement of the collective could occur if either the collective spring or cable were to fail. As a result, they introduced installation of a redundant system consisting of a second spring and cable.

The pilot reported no failure or malfunction of the cyclic or collective flight controls from the cockpit to the main rotor. The helicopter was equipped with redundant collective springs and cables, neither of which were failed. The pilot did report that both springs exhibited evidence of slight elongation when compared with springs installed on an exemplar helicopter. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport
Age: 70, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: None None
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/30/2009
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 154 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N330JT
Model/Series: SAFARI 400
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2004
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 0474N
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/07/2015, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1450 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 154 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: O-320-B2A
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 150 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: LEB, 603 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 26 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1553 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 299°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.88 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 9°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Andover, NH
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Andover, NH
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1554 EDT
Type of Airspace:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 43.420833, -71.780556

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