Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Enstrom F-28F Falcon, N380SH: Accident occurred September 28, 2019 in Bloomsburg, Columbia County, Pennsylvania

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Enstrom Helicopter Corporation; Menominee, Michigan
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Bloomsburg, PA
Accident Number: ERA19LA285
Date & Time: 09/28/2019, 1930 EDT
Registration: N380SH
Aircraft: Enstrom F28
Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Aerial Observation - Sightseeing

On September 28, 2019, about 1930 eastern daylight time, an Enstrom F-28F helicopter, N380SH, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain and vehicles during an approach to a helipad at the Bloomsburg Fair in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. The commercial pilot sustained serious injuries and the two passengers sustained minor injuries. The helicopter was operated by J&J Shop HeliAir LLC. under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a local sightseeing flight. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that originated about 1920.

Surveillance video captured the final 19 seconds of the flight, which showed the helicopter approaching the helipad in a forward-moving hover. It then pitched up and simultaneously began a right yaw (clockwise turn). The helicopter subsequently completed two and a half descending spins before impacting vehicles and terrain.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who examined the helicopter at the accident site, the helicopter came to rest on its left side. The fuselage, tail boom, main and tail rotors sustained substantial damage. The fuel cap remained secured and a faint odor of fuel was present at the accident site. The passenger doors were not installed. The inspector reported that the operator held an FAA Letter of Authorization to conduct commercial air tour operations under Title 14 CFR Part 91.147.

According to FAA airman records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for helicopter and airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued in March 2019 and at that time, he reported a total of 8,400 flight hours.

According to FAA airworthiness records, the 3-seat helicopter was powered by a Lycoming HIO-360-F1AD, 225-horsepower engine.

At 1954, the weather conditions reported at Williamsport Regional Airport, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, which was located about 25 miles from the accident site, included calm wind, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 22°C, and dew point 19°C. A wind sock that was visible in the surveillance video was consistent with calm wind at the time of the accident.

The helicopter was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Enstrom
Registration: N380SH
Model/Series: F28 F
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: J&J Shop Heliair LLC.
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Certificate of Authorization or Waiver (COA)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: IPT, 525 ft msl
Observation Time: 1954 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 25 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 19°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: BLOOMSBURG, PA (NONE)
Destination: BLOOMSBURG, PA (NONE)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:N/A 
Aircraft Explosion:None 
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 40.992222, -76.468333 (est)

BLOOMSBURG, Pennsylvania -- The day after a helicopter crashed at the Bloomsburg Fair, vendors cleaning up after a week of working stopped by to look at the mess left behind as well as those who came back to deal with their damaged vehicles, like Dave Diseroad from Maryland.

"We were concerned whether anyone was hurt, anything like that, and we found out that there was some people in a helicopter that had injuries, but they weren't severe, and we're very thankful for that, and luckily no one of the ground was injured," Diseroad said.

The helicopter that crashed was an attraction at the fair that takes off from a parking area and gives a short tour around the fair and surrounding area.

Fair officials say a pilot, a woman, and a child were in the helicopter when it went down around 7:30 p.m. Saturday. All were sent to the hospital. The woman and child had minor injuries and are expected to be OK.

Newswatch 16 learned Sunday night the pilot, Ken Cordrey, is in critical condition. Officials with Geisinger Medical Center confirmed Cordrey's condition.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating to find out what went wrong.

Diseroad travels from Maryland to Bloomsburg every year to visit the fair. His car will have to be towed from the lot, but the fair says it's providing those in his situation with a rental car while theirs are repaired. Diseroad says Saturday night was the most crowded he's seen the fair all week, and he's shocked this didn't have a graver outcome.

"You have the entrance right over here where thousands of people go in and out all day long, you know? And people going to their cars right here. We're just very fortunate."

Fair officials tell Newswatch 16 almost 70,000 people attended the fair on Saturday.

Christopher Kirwin is a parking attendant who saw the crash happen. He tells Newswatch 16 the helicopter was on its way to land at the helipad when the crash happened.

"When I turned around, it was about 10 feet above the cars, and it just plopped right on top," Kirwin said.

Kirwin has been working in the fair parking lot for about 10 years. He says when the crash happened, he rushed in to help control the crowd and let first responders do what they needed to get everyone out safely.

"It's actually a miracle because a lot of times this doesn't end well," Kirwin added.

Fair officials tell us the cause of the crash is still under investigation. Whether or not helicopter rides will be available at the fair next year will be up to the fair board to decide.

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