Sunday, April 07, 2019

Hughes 369A, N369GK: Accident occurred May 19, 2018 in Stoneburg, Montague County, Texas

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Dallas, Texas
Accident Investigation & Prevention; AVP-100; Washington, District of Columbia 

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Stoneburg, TX
Accident Number: CEN18LA183
Date & Time: 05/19/2018, 0945 CDT
Registration: N369GK
Aircraft: HUGHES 369A
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 4 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business 


The commercial pilot was conducting an aerial tour flight to hunt hogs in the helicopter with four passengers on board. As the pilot was returning to the landing zone and the helicopter was about 125 ft above the ground, a passenger saw a coyote below the helicopter and reported it to the other occupants. The pilot then chose to chasethe coyoteand suddenly made a tight, right turn and then entered a steep descent, which resulted in the helicopter rapidly approaching a tree line; the pilot initiated a climb, but the helicopter impacted the trees and then terrain.

Postaccident examination of the helicopter revealed no evidence of any preimpactmechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The pilot was operating the helicopter unsafely at a low altitude, which likely resulted in him seeing the tree line ahead too late to avoid impact with the trees. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s unsafe and aggressive operation of the helicopter at low altitude, which resulted in impact with trees. 


Altitude - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Incorrect action performance - Pilot (Cause)
Monitoring environment - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Tree(s) - Effect on operation (Cause)

Factual Information

On May 19, 2018, about 0930 central daylight time, a Hughes 369A helicopter, N369GK, struck trees and impacted terrain about 4 miles north of Stoneburg and 8 miles north of Bowie, Texas.. The pilot and three passengers were seriously injured, and the helicopter was destroyed. The helicopter was registered to Longhorn Helicopters and operated by Hogbirds under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an aerial tour flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site, and no flight plan had been filed.

The flight was part of a guided hog hunt on private property for military veterans. There were four occupants on board: the pilot in the right front seat, the navigator in the left front seat, and two passengers in the rear acting as shooters. According to a passenger, who was seated in the front left seat and was acting as a navigator during the flight, the flight had completed a hunt and a call had been made to safe the weapons. Subsequently, the flight started to return to the landing zone. While flying about 125 feet above the ground a passenger spotted a coyote below the helicopter and notified the rest of the occupants. The pilot made a sudden tight right turn and entered a steep descent downwind to chase the coyote. The flight crossed a road and dropped into the middle of a wheat field. The flight rapidly approached a tree line and the pilot initiated a climb, but the helicopter collided with trees and impacted terrain. The navigator was able to extricate himself from the helicopter and went for help. The pilot and passengers were taken to hospitals with serious injuries. The navigator was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. The navigator did not report any mechanical malfunction of the helicopter prior to the accident. Neither the pilot or operator submitted a statement to FAA or NTSB.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 42, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/29/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 
Flight Time:  608 hours (Total, all aircraft), 100 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: HUGHES
Registration: N369GK
Model/Series: 369A NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1967
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 580468
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Allison
Engine Model/Series: 250-C18A
Registered Owner: Longhorn Helicopters
Rated Power: 317 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: 0F2, 1100 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0955 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 135°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 14 knots / 21 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: Unknown / Unknown
Wind Direction: 160°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: Unknown / Unknown
Altimeter Setting: 29.85 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 19°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Sunset, TX (NONE)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Sunset, TX (NONE)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0915 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 2 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 Serious
Latitude, Longitude:  33.706944, -97.916667


  1. "The Pilot will not speak to Mr. Baker at this time, and we should not ask him to, due to possible enforcement action from the FSDO in this case." Alrighty then.... I get it, I totally get it ;)

  2. Reminds me of the hot dogs with the Extra 300s playing combat. They killed at least two innocent customers.They also were operating illegally. Senseless and in need of enforcement action.

  3. You can’t make this stuff up. A 600 hour turbine helo pilot out there flying low and recklessly in a 369 with three other “warrior” passengers. Pilot was doing a “ bring on Saigon” type flight to give these guys a thrill. They found out that these type of activities have their risks. Maybe if they want to play army, they should try paintball or video games. Too bad first responders, hospitals, and FAA, insurance, if any, etc, have to expend reasources on preventable accidents. They could all have been killed had machine burned.

  4. I noticed on video they had two medivac helicopters there. To bad they couldn’t have used a couple of old Hillers with the skid stretchers on them to haul the team out. That would have been cool.

  5. ^ It would have been cheaper too.