Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Loss of Tail Rotor Effectiveness: Bell 206B JetRanger II, N183TC, accident occurred June 26, 2017 in Entiat, Chelan County, Washington

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Spokane, Washington

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Entiat, WA
Accident Number: GAA17CA369
Date & Time: 06/26/2017, 1645 PDT
Registration: N183TC
Aircraft: BELL 206B
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of tail rotor effectiveness
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural


The pilot reported that, while maneuvering the helicopter at low altitude for an agricultural application flight, an unsecured clipboard that was on the seat next to him fell and became lodged under the antitorque pedals. Unable to free the clipboard, the pilot chose to make a precautionary landing. About 5 to 10 ft above ground level, the pilot lost tail rotor authority, and the helicopter began to rotate to the right. After about two rotations, he was able to land the helicopter. During the touchdown, the stinger folded into the tail rotor.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tailboom.

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

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to secure a loose item inside the cockpit that interfered with antitorque pedal control and led to a loss of helicopter control due to a loss of tail rotor effectiveness.


Prop/rotor parameters - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Monitoring equip/instruments - Pilot (Cause)
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-low-alt flying
Loss of tail rotor effectiveness (Defining event)

Off-field or emergency landing

Hard landing 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 32, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 5-point
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/14/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/22/2016
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 353.5 hours (Total, all aircraft), 39.3 hours (Total, this make and model), 230.4 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 23 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BELL
Registration: N183TC
Model/Series: 206B B
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1975
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 1805
Landing Gear Type: Ski;
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  Unknown
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3201 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:  1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: ALLISON
Engine Model/Series: 250-C20 SER
Rated Power: 400 hp
Operator: JP Helicopters
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural Aircraft (137)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KEAT, 1229 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 21 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2355 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 163°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 14 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 280°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.71 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C / 6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Orondo, WA
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Orondo, WA
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1630 PDT
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: 47.732222, -120.347778 (est)

Preventing Similar Accidents  

Securing Objects in Your Aircraft

Forgotten and unsecured items within an aircraft can lead to accidents or incidents as they move during flight. These items can include tools used on the aircraft before flight; aviation-related items such as GPS units, clipboards, and antennas; nonaviation-related portable electronic devices (PED) such as personal phones and computers; and personal items such as jackets or carry-on items.

Inspect the aircraft for forgotten or misplaced tools before takeoff. Even experienced pilots and aviation maintenance technicians can make mistakes. If maintenance has recently been performed on the aircraft, this action is especially important.

Conduct an inventory of cockpit items before takeoff, including the number of PEDs, GPS units, and antennas on board the aircraft, and ensure that they are secured. This also helps to assure their availability throughout the flight.

Account for all flight gear and personal items such as hats and jackets before and after each flight, and ensure that they are secured.

Incorporate all of these checks into your preflight actions and remind passengers during the preflight briefing of the importance of item security and proper stowage of PEDs and personal items.

See for additional resources.

The NTSB presents this information to prevent recurrence of similar accidents. Note that this should not be considered guidance from the regulator, nor does this supersede existing FAA Regulations (FARs).

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