Sunday, December 22, 2019

Controlled Flight into Object: Bell OH-58A Kiowa, N1032F; accident occurred October 27, 2018 in Carson City, Nevada

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Reno, Nevada

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Carson City, NV
Accident Number: GAA19CA039
Date & Time: 10/27/2018, 1445 PST
Registration: N1032F
Aircraft: Bell OH 58A
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)
Injuries: 3 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Aerial Observation 

The helicopter pilot reported that, while maneuvering at a low altitude the main rotor blades struck power lines. He executed an emergency landing without further incident. The pilot added that the power lines were concealed by the sun and that the power lines were not annotated in his VFR sectional chart.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the main rotor blades.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial; Private
Age: 54, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/12/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 10/18/2018
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 6912 hours (Total, all aircraft), 2025 hours (Total, this make and model), 4696 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 113 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 21 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell
Registration: N1032F
Model/Series: OH 58A No Series
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate:
Serial Number: 70-15595
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/10/2018, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3200 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time: 7027 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rolls Royce
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: T63-A720
Registered Owner: Washoe County Sheriff's Office
Rated Power: 420 hp
Operator: Washoe County Sheriff's Office
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCXP, 4699 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 4 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2215 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 115°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 9 knots / 15 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 280°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.11 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / -3°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Reno, NV (RNO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Carson City, NV (CXP)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1245 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Minor
Aircraft Fire:None 
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 39.208889, -119.804722 (est)


  1. The was a public use aerial observation mission supporting the Vice President’s motorcade. Pilot admits entering the area where the power lines crossed the interstate. He then contacts the wires while at 200 agl. with rotor blades. He claims the wires were blocked by the sun and the poles by the terrain. Since he knew they were there, I don’t understand why he continued. He also had two passengers with him, which seems excessive for a low level mission at this altitude. He also states wires were not on the sectional he was using. These appear like excuses when you can see what happened. I think he was lower than 200 feet agl. Very lucky on this pilot error.

  2. To the poster above, it is possible those two other passengers were Secret Service or other federal security or even state security detail. Neither you nor anyone else including myself know what air asset involvement is required for a VP or president security detail from local/state law enforcement. So to claim that the passengers were "excessive" is at best meaningless conjecture unless you have been involved in these types of VIP security detail aerial flights. Insofar as everything else, I'll wait for the initial NTSB report to find out who/what was the fault.

  3. When flying low you must always scan for power poles. It is not unusual for there to be lines between the poles. A large double pole is in the picture. Pilot error.