Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Robinson R22 Beta, N7143Y: Accident occurred June 29, 2019 in Garwood, Colorado County, Texas

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

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

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

https://registry.faa.gov/N7143Y

Location: Garwood, TX
Accident Number: CEN19LA193
Date & Time: 06/29/2019, 1230 CDT
Registration: N7143Y
Aircraft: Robinson R22
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Aerial Application 

On June 29, 2019, about 1230 central daylight time, a Robinson R-22 (Beta) helicopter, N7143Y, impacted a wire while maneuvering low-level near Garwood, Texas. The commercial pilot and sole occupant sustained serious injuries. The helicopter sustained substantial damage. The helicopter was registered to Spitzer Helicopter, LLC and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a visual flight rules crop pollination flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from a private helipad near Garwood, Texas at an unknown time.

An aviation safety inspector (ASI) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Houston Flight Standards District Office reported the purpose of the flight was for the pilot to fly low-level over a field of rice to assist in the pollination process. For a crop pollination flight with a helicopter, the downwash generated from the main rotor system disperses pollen from the rice and facilities pollination. No pollen or chemicals are released from the helicopter. While performing low-level maneuvering, the helicopter impacted a wire. The helicopter impacted terrain after the wire strike and came to rest in the field. The pilot sustained serious injuries to his head and back and was transported to a local hospital for medical treatment.

A postaccident examination of the helicopter by the FAA ASI revealed substantial damage to the main rotor system, the fuselage, the tail boom, and the tail rotor system as shown in figure 1. Damage consistent from a wire strike was observed to the main rotor blades and to the main rotor mast. No preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe and engine were noted.


Figure 1 – View of the recovered wreckage (courtesy of the FAA).

The wire was part of a group of secondary distribution wires that carried 240-volts of power as shown in figure 2. The wire was about one-inch in diameter, which was composed of copper and steel. The wires were estimated to be about 20 feet above the ground near the rice field. The wire sustained damage from the impact but remained intact and did not separate from the utility poles. The wire that was impacted and the surrounding wires did not have aerial markers installed, nor were they required to.


Figure 2 - View of the wire (courtesy of the FAA).

The dual-seat capacity helicopter, serial number 3713, was manufactured in 2004. The helicopter was equipped with a Lycoming O-360-J2A reciprocating engine. The helicopter was not equipped with a wire cutting system or a wire proximity warning device, nor was it required to be.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N7143Y
Model/Series: R22 BETA
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KARM, 100 ft msl
Observation Time: 1735 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 23 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / 21°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 3000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 270°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Garwood, TX
Destination: Garwood, TX

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion:None 
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude:  29.448333, -96.398333 (est)

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