Friday, December 27, 2019

Controlled Flight into Object: Hughes 369D, N89ZC; accident occurred August 22, 2018 in Ridgway, Elk County, Pennsylvania

View of damaged main rotor blade.
Federal Aviation Administration

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Allegheny, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Ridgeway, PA
Accident Number:GAA18CA506 
Date & Time: 08/22/2018, 1126 EDT
Registration: N89ZC
Aircraft: Hughes 369
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Aerial Observation

The helicopter pilot reported that, after a high reconnaissance the helicopter was descended to about 30 ft above the power lines for the powerline inspection, while flying about 30-35 knots. While patrolling, they climbed over an identified crossing line, and then descended back down. During the decent , the passenger spotted a previously unseen power line in their flight path so the pilot "pulled hard aft cyclic with right pedal" but the main rotor blades struck the power line. The helicopter acquired a vibration in the main rotor system, but pilot was able to land without further incident.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the main rotor blades.

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

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 41, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s):Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s):None
Toxicology Performed:No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/01/2017
Occupational Pilot:Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/25/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 2354 hours (Total, all aircraft), 594 hours (Total, this make and model), 2263 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 138 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 29 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Hughes
Registration: N89ZC
Model/Series: 369 D
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1981
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 1098D
Landing Gear Type: High Skid
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3000 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Rolls Royce
Engine Model/Series: 250-C20B
Registered Owner: Dah Aircraft Llc
Rated Power:
Operator: Rotor Blade LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Rotorcraft External Load (133)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Dawn
Observation Facility, Elevation: KDUJ, 1805 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 20 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1602 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 228°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 1800 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.88 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 16°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: St Marys, PA (OYM)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: St Marys, PA (OYM)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1215 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class E

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion:None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 41.401111, -78.561389 (est)

1 comment:

  1. Pilot reaction and experience in type saved two lives. Passenger declaring "wire" instead of long sentence "watch out for the wire" helped with reaction time also.