Friday, August 16, 2019

Bell 206B JetRanger II, N106PD: Accident occurred August 16, 2019 at Blair Municipal Airport (KBTA), Washington County, Nebraska

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lincoln, Nebraska
Omaha Police Department; Blair, NE
Rolls-Royce Corporation; Indianapolis, IN
Pending Designation; Keystone Turbine Services; Coatesville, PA
Transportation Safety Board of Canada;Gatineau, QC
Bell Flight; Fort Worth, TX

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Blair, NE

Accident Number: CEN19LA269
Date & Time: 08/16/2019, 0945 CDT
Registration: N106PD
Aircraft: Bell 206
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Public Aircraft 

On August 16, 2019, about 0945 central daylight time, a Bell 206B helicopter, N106PD, impacted runway 31 while performing a training maneuver at the Blair Municipal Airport (BTA), Blair, Nebraska. The two pilots sustained minor injuries. The helicopter sustained substantial damage. The helicopter was registered to and operated by the Omaha Police Department (OPD) as a public use, visual flight rules flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from BTA, about 0830.

According to the OPD, the helicopter departed BTA for a patrol flight over Omaha, Nebraska. After about one hour of flight, the helicopter headed back to BTA. About 4 miles south of runway 31 at BTA, the pilot-in-command (PIC), who is also a certificated flight instructor and was stationed in the right seat, decided to conduct emergency procedure training with a simulated governor failure. The co-pilot was stationed in the left seat. Since a training event was being conducted as opposed to a real governor failure concluding with a run-on landing, the intent was to recover from the simulated governor failure at a safe airspeed and altitude.

The pilot initiated a simulated governor failure by rolling the throttle down just enough to take the governor offline, but still maintaining the main rotor rpm in the green (normal) range. The helicopter descended while maintaining airspeed until over the runway. About 40 feet above ground level and 45 knots, the PIC announced his intention and rolled the throttle back to the full open position. The PIC confirmed the main rotor rpm indication in the green range, which he verbally announced. All other indications in the helicopter appeared to be normal to the PIC.

As the helicopter was in normal operating conditions, the PIC applied aft cyclic to slow down and began air taxiing to the parking pad to the east (right) of their current position. The PIC looked to the right to begin air taxiing and at that moment he heard the low rotor rpm audible horn. The PIC confirmed a loss of engine power indications in the cockpit. The helicopter descended very rapidly toward the ground. The PIC reduced the collective briefly to regain main rotor energy and then applied collective to cushion the landing. The helicopter impacted the runway and came to rest on its left side.

The PIC executed an emergency shutdown and both pilots egressed from the helicopter without further incident. The pilots were wearing MSA Gallet MH250 helicopter flight helmets and both flight helmets sustained impact damage the during the accident sequence. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the main rotor system, the fuselage, the tailboom, and the tail rotor system as shown below in figure 1.

Figure 1 – View of the helicopter on runway 31 (courtesy of the OPD).

On August 23, 2019, a team of Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspectors from the Lincoln Flight Standards District Office traveled to BTA to examine the wreckage. During the examination, no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe and engine were noted. The engine and engine accessories were removed for a future examination and test run.

The five-seat capacity helicopter, serial number 4649, was manufactured in 2008. The helicopter was equipped with a Rolls-Royce M250-C20J turboshaft engine, serial number CAE-271024.

The OPD Air Support Unit (ASU) is based at BTA. The ASU provides aerial support to the OPD for pursuit operations and surveillance operations. The ASU is staffed by one command officer, three pilots, and one mechanic. The fleet consists of the accident helicopter, N176PD (a Bell 206B), and N109PD (a Bell OH-58A helicopter). N109PD sustained a loss of engine power near Omaha, Nebraska, on April 29, 2019. The helicopter sustained substantial damage and the two pilots sustained no injury. For additional information on the accident with N109PD, refer to CEN19LA121. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell
Registration: N106PD
Model/Series: 206 B
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Omaha Police Department
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KBTA, 1299 ft msl
Observation Time: 1435 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 18°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.93 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR/IFR
Departure Point: Blair, NE (BTA)
Destination: Blair, NE (BTA)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 41.415000, -96.109167 (est)

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Nebraska  — Officials were called to an OPD, Able-1 helicopter crash in Washington County Friday morning.

Deputies said two pilots, Officers Matt Baughman and Brian Yaghoutfam, were not injured in the crash that happened as they attempted to land at the Blair airport around 9:45 a.m.

The rotorcraft is a 2008 Bell 206 JetRanger.

This is the second OPD helicopter crash in the last 4 months.

Deputy Chief of Police Services Bureau, Kerry Neumann, said the helicopter lost power while it was in the air and dropped between 40 to 50 feet.

Neumann said it made a hard landing, causing it to end up on its side.

He said the two officers have very minor injuries and are going to the hospital to get checked out.

Neumann said the helicopter sustained heavy damage.

Police said Yaghoutfam was the Pilot in command. He is a 19-year veteran with OPD with 12 years in the Air Support Unit as a pilot.

The Tactical Flight Officer was Baughman, who is a 19-year veteran with OPD and has 12 1/2 years in the Air Support Unit as a pilot, police said.

"We lucked out in this incident. The pilots--they’re safe and they’re fine. The helicopter sustained some pretty heavy damage," Neumann said.

 Able 1 Omaha police helicopter inoperable after emergency landing
Police said they have one mission ready aircraft that is currently under maintenance but that they have been in contact with the Nebraska State Patrol who will assist in any emergency if needed.

The incident is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

"We don’t know what caused this helicopter to go down this is going to be looked at from all avenue and all agencies," Neumann said.

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  1. Cops make very poor pilots due to that "superior" attitude majority display.....aviation doesn't forgive.....

  2. Well, it didn't just 'fall 40 or 50 feet' to the ground or it would have been much worse. Must have been some auto-rotation going on.
    This is the second LE aircraft crash recently? Wow, that has got to be expensive.