Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Loss of Control in Flight: Robinson R44, N4167Y, accident occurred November 18, 2018 in Knox City, Knox County, Texas

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock, Texas

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms


Location: Knox City, TX
Accident Number: GAA19CA063
Date & Time: 11/18/2018, 0830 CST
Registration: N4167Y
Aircraft: Robinson R44
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 4 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Aerial Observation 

The helicopter pilot reported that while conducting a photography flight about 70ft AGL, the helicopter's heading was 190° and the airspeed was less than 9 knots. With a 14-knot tailwind the helicopter began to settle with power. He increased collective and applied forward cyclic to increase the airspeed, but the helicopter impacted the ground.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the main rotor system and the fuselage.

The pilot reported that the wind about the time of the accident was from the north at 14 knots.

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

According to the Helicopter Flying Handbook, Chapter 11, page 11-10:

When recovering from a settling with power condition, the pilot tends first to try to stop the descent by increasing collective pitch. However, this only results in increasing the stalled area of the rotor, thereby increasing the rate of descent. Since inboard portions of the blades are stalled, cyclic control may be limited. Recovery is accomplished by increasing airspeed, and/or partially lowering collective pitch. In many helicopters, lateral cyclic combined with lateral tailrotor thrust will produce the quickest exit from the hazard assuming that there are no barriers in that direction. In a fully developed vortex ring state, the only recovery may be to enter autorotation to break the vortex ring state.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 34, 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): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/04/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 09/28/2018
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 302.9 hours (Total, all aircraft), 302.9 hours (Total, this make and model), 224.9 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 35.2 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 30.9 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N4167Y
Model/Series: R44 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 1889
Landing Gear Type: Skid;
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/10/2018, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2087.5 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: O-540-F1B5
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 235 hp
Operator: On file
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: KCDS, 1951 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 57 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1453 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 343°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 1900 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 3300 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 350°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.38 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: -1°C / -5°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Knox City, TX (F75)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Knox City, TX (F75)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0730 CST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 3 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 None
Latitude, Longitude: 33.515000, -99.953611 (est)

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