Sunday, April 14, 2019

Robinson R44, N144DJ: Accident occurred July 09, 2018 in Rulo, Richardson County, Nebraska

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lincoln

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Rulo, NE
Accident Number: GAA18CA408
Date & Time: 07/09/2018, 2020 CDT
Registration: N144DJ
Aircraft: Robinson R44
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural 

According to the helicopter pilot, he was performing a night agricultural flight. During takeoff from a platform located on top of the tender, his collective application was too aggressive, and during the ascent the engine sputtered. The engine RPM and main rotor RPM decreased, and he tried to regain the RPMs by lowering the collective.

The helicopter was moving forward and descending, so he applied aft cyclic to arrest the forward movement, and he attempted to land. The left skid touched down in the soft dirt and the pilot applied aft cyclic to prevent a nose over, but the main rotor blades struck the tailboom. The helicopter rolled forward, and the nose of the helicopter spun to the left before the helicopter came to rest on its left side.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage the fuselage, tail rotor drive system and skid tubes.

Additionally, the pilot asserted that the accident could have been prevented if he would not have been in a hurry to complete the operation.

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

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 30, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/15/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:03/31/2018 
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 7500 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1800 hours (Total, this make and model), 7380 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 100 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 60 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 12 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N144DJ
Model/Series: R44 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 2467
Landing Gear Type: Skid;
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/05/2018, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 767 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: O-540-F1B5
Registered Owner: Dustin Johnson Aviation LLC
Rated Power: 245 hp
Operator: Cedar Ridge Aviation
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural Aircraft (137)
Operator Does Business As: Cedar Ridge Aviation
Operator Designator Code: 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KFNB, 980 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0153 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 296°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 160°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.12 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 18°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Rulo, NE
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Rulo, NE
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 2019 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

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:  40.020000, -95.430000 (est)

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