Sunday, October 20, 2019

Hard Landing: Eurocopter EC 135 P2+, N135LG; accident occurred February 07, 2017 in Beattyville, Lee County, Kentucky

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Louisville, Kentucky
Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Beattyville, KY
Accident Number: ERA17LA103
Date & Time: 02/07/2017, 0520 EST
Registration: N135LG
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled - Air Medical (Medical Emergency) 

On February 7, 2017, about 0520 eastern standard time, a Eurocopter EC 135, N135LG, was substantially damaged following a hard landing near Beattyville, Kentucky. The pilot and two passengers were not injured. The helicopter departed from the Mt. Sterling base (IOB), Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, and was destined for St. Helens, Kentucky. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the emergency medical flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135.

According to the pilot, he was dispatched to an accident scene about 35 nautical miles from his base operations in Mt. Sterling. The pilot checked the weather and completed the risk assessment form. The forecast was for visual meteorological conditions and he departed for the scene sometime before 0500. He further stated that he climbed to 2,500 feet mean sea level and noted the winds to be from the south-west at 35 knots. He stated he was comfortable flying in these conditions, and had flown in these type winds several times before. Once he arrived at the landing zone, he was cautious of electrical wires that were next to the helipad, so he came over the wires at 100 feet to clear them and started to descend at a rate around 200 feet per minute. When he was just above the ground, he tried to increase collective but was unable to arrest the descent. He stated to the crew "this was going to be a hard landing". The helicopter bounced when it hit the ground and rolled over on the right side. The pilot told everyone to remain in the helicopter until the rotor stopped spinning to avoid injuries. After the rotor stopped spinning, all three occupants egressed the helicopter. The pilot stated there were no known mechanical deficiencies with the helicopter prior to the accident.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the helicopter came to rest on the right side. All four main rotor blades were destroyed during impact. All four main rotor pitch links were broken from impact as well as the rotating scissors. The tail boom was fractured at the horizontal stabilizer/fenestron mount. The tail rotor and vertical fin assembly were intact and the blades did not exhibit any damage. The upper left horizontal stabilizer vertical winglet exhibited impact damage from the main rotors. The pilot's windshield and skylight were broken out and the nose bow area was crushed.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/08/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/29/2016
Flight Time:  12952 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1089 hours (Total, this make and model), 9908 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 25 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 9 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N135LG
Model/Series: EC 135 P2+
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 0731
Landing Gear Type: Ski;
Seats: 5
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/23/2017, AAIP
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 6415 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 2 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time: 3665 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: P&W CANADA
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: PW206B
Registered Owner: AIR METHODS CORP
Rated Power: 431 hp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Commuter Air Carrier (135) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Dawn
Observation Facility, Elevation: JKL
Distance from Accident Site: 16 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0453 EST
Direction from Accident Site: 90°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Unknown
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 29.82 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 14°C / 10°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: MOUNT STERLING, KY (IOB)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: St. Helens, KY
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 None
Latitude, Longitude: 37.557778, -83.706111 (est)

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