Sunday, July 21, 2019

Loss of Control in Flight: Eurocopter EC135-P2, N135WJ; accident occurred June 17, 2019 in Cobleskill, Schoharie County, New York

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Latham, New York

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Cobleskill, NY
Accident Number: GAA19CA405
Date & Time: 06/17/2019, 1712 EDT
Registration: N135WJ
Aircraft: Eurocopter EC135
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries:3 None 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled - Air Medical (Discretionary)

The operator of the helicopter reported that, during takeoff, the pilot allowed the helicopter to drift aft during a pedal turn. As the pilot performed a pedal turn, the main rotor blades struck tree branches that outlined the confined area of the landing zone. The remainder of the flight was completed without incident.

Further inspection by the operator's maintenance personnel identified two main rotor blades displayed damage at the tips, three fan-in-fin blades displayed bending, a crack in the vertical fin, puncture in the horizontal stabilizer and damage to the anti-torque gear box.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the anti-torque gear box.

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

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 55, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Right 
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Helicopter; Instrument Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/02/2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/11/2018
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 3672 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1342 hours (Total, this make and model), 3672 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 27 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 14 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Eurocopter
Registration: N135WJ
Model/Series: EC135 P2
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 0287
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 5
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/17/2019, AAIP
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 6250 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 2 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time: 5894 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Pratt & Whitney
Engine Model/Series: 206B2
Registered Owner: Equipment Operating Leases Llc
Rated Power:
Operator: Air Methods Corporation
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSCH, 378 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 25 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2155 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 67°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 4500 ft agl
Visibility:  15 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 110°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 14°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Cobleskill, NY
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: Albany, NY (NK64)
Type of Clearance: VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1712 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 None
Latitude, Longitude:  42.686944, -74.482778 (est)

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