Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Robinson R44 Clipper, N7187D: Fatal accident occurred June 17, 2019 in Avalon, Los Angeles County, California

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Long Beach, California

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Avalon, CA
Accident Number: WPR19FA175
Date & Time: 06/17/2019, 1730 PDT
Registration: N7187D
Aircraft: Robinson R44
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On June 17, 2019 about 1730 Pacific daylight time, a Robinson R44 helicopter, N7187D, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering near Avalon, California, Santa Catalina Island. The pilot was fatally injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed within the area and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from Long Beach Airport (LGB), Long Beach, California at 1657.

An Alert Notification was issued for the accident helicopter when a family member of the pilot reported that the helicopter failed to return to LGB. The local law enforcement commenced search and rescue operations throughout the north area of Santa Catalina Island and the wreckage was located on the morning of June 18, 2019.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted the side of a hill at an elevation of 1,015 ft mean sea level. Initial radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) depicted the accident helicopter descending towards the terrain at 117 knots before the impact. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N7187D
Model/Series: R44 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction:
Lowest Ceiling:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries:N/A 
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 33.462778, -118.574722 (est)

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

A pilot found dead after the helicopter he was flying crash landed on Catalina Island has been identified as 60-year-old Philip Su Chu Yang of Palos Verdes Estates.

Yang, who was identified by authorities on Wednesday, June 26, was piloting a Robinson R44 helicopter from Torrance to Catalina when, for unknown reasons, the aircraft crash landed on a hillside on the west end of the island, authorities said.

The aircraft was reported missing about an hour before the discovery of the wreckage about 10 a.m. June 18, said Sgt. Craig Harman of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Yang was known to take recreational flights from Torrance to Catalina Island, in which he would fly over before returning to Torrance Municipal Airport, Harman said last week.

The Department received a call from the Air Force Coordination Rescue Center after Yang hadn’t returned to Torrance for 16 hours, Harman said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash. An accident investigator with Torrance-based Robinson Helicopter Company was assisting in that investigation, the company said.

The smoldering fire was contained to the aircraft, said Sky Cornell of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, which assisted in the search.

Yang was the sole occupant in the helicopter.

A pilot was found dead after a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter on Tuesday, June 18 discovered the wreckage of a helicopter that had crashed on the west side of Catalina Island.

Smoldering debris was found just before 10 a.m. Tuesday north of the Isthmus on a hillside, said Sky Cornell, a Los Angeles County Fire Department inspector.

Sgt. Craig Harman of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Avalon Station confirmed the aircraft as a helicopter.

The pilot was not immediately named by authorities, but was described as a man in his 60s, Sheriff’s Deputy Joana Warren said. Officials believe he was the only occupant of the aircraft at the time of the crash.

The man was known to take recreational flights from Torrance to Catalina Island, which he would fly over before returning, Harman said. He would not always land on the island, Harman added.

The Sheriff’s Department received a call from the Air Force Coordination Rescue Center after the pilot reportedly hadn’t returned for 16 hours, Harman said.

A search and rescue was initiated and authorities started by searching the last coordinates the helicopter was known to be, Harman said.

“They found the wreckage there,” he said. “We did have precise longitude and latitude.”

The Federal Aviation Administration was notified of a missing Robinson R44 helicopter traveling from Torrance to Catalina Monday afternoon, Spokesman Allen Kenitzer said. He said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board planned to investigate the cause of the crash.

The smoldering fire was contained to the wreckage and had not spread to brush, Cornell said. There was no threat to structures.

Sheriff’s Department personnel were on scene to investigate the cause of the crash, Harman said

The U.S. Coast Guard assisted in searching for the missing aircraft.

The aircraft owner was not affiliated with Robinson Helicopter Company, spokeswoman Loretta Conley said. The company is based at the Torrance Municipal Airport.

“We are devastated by the loss of life and anyone involved,” the company said in a statement. “Our thoughts and heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of the individual affected by this tragic accident.”

An accident investigator with the company was assisting the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board in their investigation, the company said.

“As always, our first concern and priority is the safety and welfare of the people involved with our aircraft,” the statement said.

Original article can be found here ➤


  1. Another day another Robinson. No surprise here.


  2. Helicopters in general... a dying species soon displaced by multirotor copters powered by clean efficient QUIET reliable electrical mechanical simplicity.

    Not a thousand shaking parts conspiring to kill you and a Jesus bolt (i.e if it breaks you meet Jesus).

  3. They might not be as quiet as we hope ...

  4. My tiny little quad copter drone makes a helluva racket. I sure hope larger multi-rotor aircraft are much quieter in the future. Ever hear a V22 Osprey? Those suckers pack a lot of decibels!