Friday, September 13, 2019

Sikorsky S-58ET, N1168U: Accident occurred September 11, 2019 in Azusa, Los Angeles County, California

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

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

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Azusa, CA
Accident Number: WPR19LA255
Date & Time: 09/11/2019, 1300 PDT
Registration: N1168U
Aircraft: Sikorsky S58
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Positioning 

On September 11, 2019, about 1300 Pacific daylight time, the pilot of a Sikorsky S-58 helicopter, N1168U, performed an unscheduled off-airport landing to an open field near Azusa, California. The commercial pilot was uninjured, and the helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tail rotor assembly, 90° gearbox, and vertical fin. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Heli-Flight Incorporated under the provisions of a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed along the route of flight about the time of the accident, and a company flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Shafter Airport-Minter Field (MIT) at 1138 and was destined for Corona Municipal Airport (AJO).

According to the pilot, he was repositioning the helicopter to AJO. While in cruise flight he heard a loud bang and realized he had lost tail rotor control. He initiated an autorotation and emergency landing into a school yard. During his post flight inspection, he noticed one tail rotor blade had separated in flight, and the 90° gearbox had fractured.

The helicopter was recovered to a secure facility for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Sikorsky
Registration: N1168U
Model/Series: S58 ET
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Rotorcraft External Load (133)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPOC, 1014 ft msl
Observation Time: 1247 PDT
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 13°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 270°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Departure Point: Shafter, CA (MIT)
Destination: Carona, CA (AJO)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 34.123889, -117.898611 (est)

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