Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Robinson R44 II, N744TW: Fatal accident occurred May 17, 2019 in Alpine, Utah

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah
Robinson Helicopter Company; Torrance, California
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

https://registry.faa.gov/N744TW

Location: Alpine, UT
Accident Number: WPR19FA148
Date & Time: 05/17/2019, 1034 MDT
Registration: N744TW
Aircraft: Robinson R44
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 17, 2019, about 1034 mountain daylight time, a Robinson Helicopter Company R44 II helicopter, N744TW, impacted mountainous terrain about 4 miles north of Alpine, Utah. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The helicopter sustained substantial damage. The helicopter was registered to Tumbleweed Leasing CO INC. and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal cross-country flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the vicinity of the accident site about the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the pilot's residence near Myton, Utah about 0924 and was destined for South Valley Regional Airport (U42), Salt Lake City, Utah.

A family member of the pilot reported that at 1027 she received a video from one of the helicopter occupants. A review of the 19 second video revealed that the helicopter was at 13,600 ft mean sea level (msl), just above a cloud layer. The time and place stamp on the video indicated that the video was taken at 1026 in the vicinity of accident site.

Preliminary radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) showed the first radar target about 0956 about 52 miles east of the accident location. Further review revealed that the helicopter began a climb from 10,400 ft msl, 37 kts groundspeed, in a west-northwest direction. At 1009, the data showed the helicopter leveled off at 13,300 ft msl and varied in altitude between 12,700 ft and 13,300 ft msl for about 30 miles. At 1029, the helicopter began a descent from 12,700 ft to 11,000 ft. Two minutes later, the helicopter began a right descending turn from an altitude of about 11,500 ft. The data further depicted the helicopter completed two 360° right turns, before radar contact was lost. The last radar target was at 9,200 ft, on a heading of 166°, and a groundspeed of 99 kts, or about 1,160 ft east of the accident site.

The wreckage was located in mountainous terrain, about 7,656 ft msl, about 4 miles northeast of Alpine, Utah. The wreckage debris path orientated on a magnetic heading of 127°. A postimpact fire near the engine was noted. All major structural components of the helicopter were located throughout the debris path. The wreckage was transported to a secure facility for further investigation.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N744TW
Model/Series: R44 II
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPVU, 4497 ft msl
Observation Time: 1614 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 17 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / 3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 170°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 3100 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.83 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Mayton, UT
Destination: Salt Lake City, UT (U42)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 40.502500, -111.743889 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov. 


Benno Anthony Penna, 32, and his wife, Megan Michele Hawk Penna, also 32, were killed on impact when their helicopter crashed in the mountains north of Alpine sometime Friday, May 17th, 2019. This photo was posted on Facebook about 10 a.m. Friday by Megan Penna. The Uintah County couple leave behind a son, age 6, and a daughter, age 5.


ALPINE — A Uintah County couple were identified Sunday as the victims of a fatal helicopter crash.

The pilot, Benno Anthony Penna, 32, and his wife, Megan Michele Hawk Penna, also 32, were killed on impact in the Friday crash in the mountains north of Alpine, according to the Utah County Sheriff's Office.

They leave behind a son, age 6, and a daughter, age 5.

Just before 3 p.m. Friday, deputies with the Utah County Sheriff's Office were notified of an overdue helicopter that had left a private residence in Ballard, Uintah County. The helicopter was headed to the South Valley Regional Airport in West Jordan and was expected at 2 p.m.

The downed chopper was found in the area of Schoolhouse Springs in rugged mountainous terrain.

Authorities say the unsettled weather may have been a factor in the crash.

Megan Penna, who owns an art studio in Ballard, posted photos and a video on Facebook about 10 a.m. Friday of her and her husband flying "above the clouds."

Friends and relatives initially wrote enthusiastic comments about the Facebook post, then later began writing words of condolence.

"A wonderful way to remember them. Their memorial from the heavens. Rest in peace Megan and Benno. You will always be remembered in the fondest ways," one man wrote.

"Sending love, light and energy healing along with prayers to your family. Both truly are flying high above the clouds now. Godspeed my friends!" wrote another.

"See you Two in Paradise. Until then I'll be missing your beautiful faces," one woman posted.

Another wrote, "(The) clouds almost look like I'd picture heaven. My prayers are with your family and friends."

Late Sunday, the Penna, Zubiate and Hawk family released a statement.

"The Penna family is heartbroken at the loss of Benno and Megan Penna. Benno was a devoted husband and father who loved helping friends and family. Megan was a devoted wife, mother and business partner with Benno. Megan loved working with her husband and they both adored their kids."

In the statement, they added: "The family is so grateful for the outpouring of community love and support during this very difficult time. The family is asking for privacy at this time. Please hold your calls, messages and visits until we have enough time to grieve the loss of Benno and Megan."

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.deseretnews.com


Benno and Megan Penna 



(KUTV) — Family of Benno and Megan Penna — killed in a helicopter crash — released a statment Sunday to the media.

The statment says the family is heartbroken and is asking for privacy to to grieve.


Benno Anthony Penna, 32, and his wife Megan Michele Hawk Penna, also 32, killed in a helicopter crash Friday, were found in the mountains north of Alpine, about a mile away from a trailhead near the Alpine Cove subdivision.


The helicopter, which was piloted by Benno, was heading to South Valley Regional Airport in West Jordan from Uinta County Airport until it went missing sometime before 2 p.m. on Friday.


The statement, issued from the Penna, Zubiate and Hawk families says:


The Penna family is heartbroken at the loss of Benno and Megan Penna.


Benno was a devoted husband and father who loved helping friends and family. Megan was a devoted wife, mother and business partner with Benno. Megan loved working with her husband and they both adored their kids.


The family is so grateful for the outpouring of community love and support during this very difficult time. The family is asking for privacy at this time. Please hold your calls, messages and visits until we have enough time to grieve the loss of Benno and Megan.


Search and rescue crews located the crash site at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Friday, but because of the terrain and because of safety and nightfall, they were recovered Saturday. A member of the search and rescue crew stayed in the area to make sure the wreckage and bodies were not disturbed.


The cause of the crash is under investigation.


"We don’t know anything about cause," Utah County Sheriff's Office's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said Saturday. "We know that there was some heavy weather yesterday afternoon. Whether that played a role in this or not, we don’t know. The FAA and the NTSB are on scene, they’ll be the ones to make that determination officially if they can."


Cannon said Saturday that the helicopter seemed to be on the right path given its start and endpoint.


The Pennas are survived by two children, 6-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.


Original article can be found here ➤ https://kutv.com







ALPINE — After she and her husband lifted off in their helicopter Friday morning, Megan Penna posted a photo to Facebook of the happy couple smiling as they soared through the clouds above Utah's scenic mountainscape.

Then, tragedy struck.

Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon on Sunday identified Megan Michele Penna, 32, and her husband, Benno Anthony Penna, also 32, as the victims of the crashed helicopter found Friday night in an area north of Alpine in Utah County.

Cannon said the couple lived in Ballard, a small town in Uintah County. Their Facebook profiles show Megan Penna was originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, while her husband was a graduate of Union High School in nearby Roosevelt.

"They leave behind two children, a 6-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl," Cannon said.

The Penna family released a statement on Sunday evening that said they are "heartbroken at the loss" of Benno and Megan:

"Benno was a devoted husband and father who loved helping friends and family. Megan was a devoted wife, mother and business partner with Benno. Megan loved working with her husband and they both adored their kids.

The family is so grateful for the outpouring of community love and support during this very difficult time. The family is asking for privacy at this time. Please hold your calls, messages and visits until we have enough time to grieve the loss of Benno and Megan."

The statement was sent on behalf of the Penna, Zubiate and Hawk family.

The helicopter was reported overdue by family members Friday afternoon after taking off from Vernal Regional Airport en route to South Valley Regional Airport in the Salt Lake Valley just before 2 p.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which issued an entry-level alert notification for local authorities and search crews.

The Pennas were the only known occupants of the four-seat Robinson R-44 helicopter, authorities said.

A cause for the crash was still under investigation Sunday.

10 comments:

  1. Tragic loss...
    FAA database shows he got his licence only one year ago.

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    Replies
    1. Dates on FAA database are not indicative of date of issuance of first license. Only indicative of latest issue date.

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  2. Sad: "They leave behind two children, a 6-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl,"

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  3. My personal experience flying the R22 and R44 with collected 125 hours in both is that they are not stable platforms in IFR conditions. I’ve accumulated 18,000 hours plus in helicopters, from both military and civilian flying. I’ve logged over 3200 hours while IFR, so my input is well balanced by experience. What concerns me about this crash is the altitudes and weather. They were flying at the service ceiling of the R22 while in high terrain, and into clouds.
    The 360s while descending are typical of spacial disorientation coupled with a helicopter that is very unforgiving.

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  4. So many CFIT accidents... sadly, almost every single CFIT accident is preventable.

    At the same time, it's interesting how little time is spent discussing it. Taking my PPL now and while there's some mention of it and mountain flying, it seems like this is an area which needs more attention. I'm certainly requesting more training on it with my instructor and will be getting additional mountain flying training next year with a CFI in a very mountainous region.

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    Replies
    1. Do a mountain checkout. You'll learn a lot. Especially about when not to go and what the hazards are.

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  5. Hypoxia? Did they have oxygen "in use" Looks like they were 12,500' to 13,300' for about 30 minuets. I know the reg's say oxygen required 12,500' to 14,000' for flights over 30 minuets but... it looks like they were at the max time limit for that altitude. Just wondering??

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    Replies
    1. Most healthy people can operate at 12-14,000 feet without oxygen help indefinitely if they do not exert themselves and are prepared for it. Many can do strenuous activities at those altitudes for short periods before resting, like around snow skiing recreation (I've done it in T-bar access peaks in Breckenridge CO which drops you top off at 12,840'). You just have to get used to the altitude for a few days so you don't get mountain sickness. Never once when I was up there did I feel light headed and not on my A-game while carving through the snow. And I live near sea level conditions unlike those in CO and UT who are already conditioned to living thousands of feet above sea level (this couple lived near Myton UT which is 5,085' MSL).

      One key to not having issues in higher altitudes above 10K feet no matter what you are used to is to be well hydrated to help your red blood cells carry the fewer oxygen molecules throughout the organs more efficiently. I highly doubt this was hypoxia related. One thing pilots learn over time is to never press your limits as a pilot nor press the limits of the capabilities of your aircraft. This inexperienced pilot may very well have done both. But ultimately, we'll have to wait for the preliminary and then final reports to know for sure. Sad loss of life leaving kids behind who lost their parents.

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  6. 'Patrick McCourt of Huntington, New York writes: “On fixed-wing aircraft, the pilot in command sits in the left seat, but on helicopters, the PIC seems to sit in the right seat. Is this always the case, and if so, why?”

    For the answer, we turned to Roger Connor, curator of vertical flight in the aeronautics division of National Air and Space Museum. “The pilot in command often does sit on the right on a helicopter, but by no means is it all of the time,” Connor writes in an email.


    “The reason is mostly historical, though there can be some operational advantage. Since most helicopters are more inherently unstable than most airplanes, a helicopter pilot rarely likes to let go of the cyclic stick with his or her right hand, even with trim, and particularly in hover operations where near-continuous control inputs are required. [The cyclic controls the helicopter’s attitude and direction of movement, almost like a combined elevator and aileron for an airplane.]

    “In steady flight, the left hand that normally moves the collective lever [which changes all the blades’ pitch angles simultaneously] is sometimes free to push buttons or twiddle instrument knobs that are usually on a center console in a cabin with a side-by-side crew arrangement. Rotor brakes and clutches are also usually centrally located for the same reason.”

    The cyclic is usually positioned between the pilot’s knees, so it can’t be shared. A left-handed pilot in the right side seat, presumably, would have to get used to using the right hand for it in much the same way that a lefty copes with a stick shift in a manual-drive car. Most helicopters with side-by-side seating have always had two cyclics.

    Connor goes on to explain that when Igor Sikorsky built the world’s first mass-produced helicopter, the R-4 (“and no, Flettner Fl 282 prototypes were not in mass production beforehand,” he adds), weight was a serious issue. “The R-4 was intended as a trainer, but was so underpowered that Sikorsky was looking for any potential savings, so Igor and his engineers decided to let the instructor and student share a single collective. The only place to put it then was in the middle between the two seats. Given the coordination and strength required to manipulate an R-4 cyclic for any length of time, the student always flew from the right.'

    @https://www.airspacemag.com/need-to-know/why-do-helicopter-pilots-sit-in-the-right-seat-243212/

    ReplyDelete