Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Loss of Engine Power (Partial): Bell OH-58A Kiowa, N109PD; accident occurred April 16, 2019 near North Omaha Airport (3NO), Douglas County, Nebraska

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lincoln, Nebraska
Rolls-Royce Corporation; Indianapolis, Indiana

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 
Location: Omaha, NE

Accident Number: CEN19LA121
Date & Time: 04/16/2019, 0730 CDT
Registration: N109PD
Aircraft: Bell OH 58A
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Public Aircraft 

On April 16, 2019, at 0730 central daylight time, a Bell OH-58A helicopter, N109PD, impacted terrain during an autorotation following a reported partial loss of engine power near Omaha, Nebraska. The pilot and co-pilot were not injured, and the helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tail boom. The helicopter was registered to and operated by the Omaha Police Department (OPD) as a public aircraft operations flight under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area at the time of the accident. The flight originated from the North Omaha Airport (3N0), Omaha, Nebraska, at the time of the accident and was destined for Blair, Nebraska.

According to the pilot, shortly after takeoff and climbing through 200 to 250 ft above ground level in a left turn, the pilots recognized an audible horn, low rotor RPM, and a loss of altitude "indicating a loss of rotor RPM and engine power." The pilot, who was seated in the right seat, entered an autorotation in an attempt to recover rotor RPM. The pilot and co-pilot observed the best suitable landing area was north and west of 3N0. Upon touchdown in the soft terrain, the forward landing gear skids dug into the terrain, and the helicopter rocked forward and backward which then caused the main rotor blades to contact the tail boom. The helicopter came to rest upright with the tail boom separated from the airframe. The pilots shut down the engine, which continued to operate about 35% N1, waited for the engine to stop, and exited the helicopter.

A review of the maintenance records revealed that on March 15, 2019, the Rolls Royce T63-A-720 250-C20C engine shut off uncommanded during the cool down cycle. A 200-hour inspection was completed on March 16, 2019, at a total airframe time of 12,089.3 hours, which included the removal of fuel control and fuel pump, and replacement of the fuel filters. The fuel pump and fuel control were checked by a certified repair station and reinstalled onto the engine. No mechanical anomalies were noted during subsequent ground and flight tests. On March 21, 2019, the engine shut off uncommanded during the cool down cycle. The fuel control throttle rigging was checked, no obstructions were found in the intake/particle separator, and the helicopter was returned to service. At the time of the accident, the total airframe and engine times were 12,099.2 hours and 6,588 hours respectively.

On April 23, 2019, the helicopter was examined by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, and representatives from the OPD and Rolls-Royce. No preimpact mechanical anomalies were noted during the examination with the airframe or engine. The engine was removed for further examination and testing.

On July 16, 2019, the engine was examined at a Rolls-Royce's authorized maintenance center, Lafayette, Louisiana, under the supervision of the FAA. The engine was placed in a production test cell for an engine test run. The engine successfully completed ground idle, flight-idle, max-continuous-power, takeoff power runs, and "wave-off" maximum power increases. The engine responded normally to all power demands without surging or hesitation. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age:42, Male 
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied:Right 
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/09/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 09/20/2017
Flight Time:  4115 hours (Total, all aircraft), 3950 hours (Total, this make and model), 4115 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 44 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 23 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Co-Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 46, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/30/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/15/2019
Flight Time:  5327 hours (Total, all aircraft), 2925 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 38 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell
Registration: N109PD
Model/Series: OH 58A No Series
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1971
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate:
Serial Number: 71-20455
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/16/2019, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3200 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time: 12099.2 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rolls Royce
ELT: C91 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 250-C20C
Registered Owner: Omaha Police Department
Rated Power: 420 hp
Operator: Omaha Police Department
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: OMA
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0552 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 140°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 11 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None /
Wind Direction: 90°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Precipitation
Departure Point: Omaha, NE (3NO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Blair, NE (BTA)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0730 CDT
Type of Airspace: 

Airport Information

Airport: North Omaha Airport (3NO)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 1320 ft
Runway Surface Condition:
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 41.414444, -96.108333 (est)

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