Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Hiller UH-12E, N131HA: Accident occurred October 13, 2019 in Susanville, Lassen 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; Reno, Nevada 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Susanville, CA
Accident Number: WPR20LA007
Date & Time: 10/13/2019, 1700 PDT
Registration: N131HA
Aircraft: Hiller UH 12E
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural 

On October 13, 2019, about 1700 Pacific daylight time, a Hiller UH-12E helicopter, N131HA, impacted terrain near Susanville, California. The commercial pilot received minor injuries. The helicopter received substantial damage to the main rotor drive train and tail boom. The helicopter was registered to Western Helicopters Inc and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed about the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed for the local flights that were originating from a staging area.

The pilot stated that on the day of the accident, he was applying a water and herbicide mixture over a parcel of land as part of a timber company contract. During one of the previous flights the morning of the accident, he heard a "pop" come from the engine along with a yaw to the right, which he attributed to a compressor stall. The pilot stated that he noted all engine instruments were in the normal range and continued his aerial application flights. Following several flights, the pilot completed an aerial application of herbicide, at which time he heard two more compressor stalls, both associated with a yaw to the right. He lowered the collective and began to look for a place to land. The pilot said that the engine then began to compressor stall continuously, and he realized he was unable to maintain altitude. The pilot initiated a right turn upslope. Subsequently, the main rotor blades struck a tree and the helicopter impacted the ground shortly after and came to rest on its left side. The helicopter was relocated to a secure facility for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Hiller
Registration: N131HA
Model/Series: UH 12E Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural Aircraft (137)
Operator Does Business As: Western Helicopter Services
Operator Designator Code: 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Susanville, CA
Destination: Susanville, CA

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 40.556111, -120.839167 (est)

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