Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Loss of Control in Flight: Guimbal Cabri G2, N715RK; accident occurred January 21, 2020 at Independence Municipal Airport ( KIIB), Buchanan County, Iowa

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Iowa  

Location: Independence, IA
Accident Number: CEN20CA064
Date & Time: 01/21/2020, 1615 CST
Registration: N715RK
Aircraft: Guimbal Cabri G2
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 


The solo student pilot reported that he "lost control" of the helicopter as he maneuvered over the ramp for a landing toward the south into wind. The student was unable to regain control of the helicopter, and it subsequently impacted an unoccupied airplane and a hangar. Airport security video footage showed the helicopter approaching the ramp in a hover-taxi heading east before it entered an increasingly rapid left spin as it drifted north toward the airplane and hangar. A review of the video of the accident did not reveal any evidence of a bird strike or visible hydraulic systems failure. The helicopter cabin and tailboom sustained substantial damage. The student reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation. The student stated that the wind direction might have changed during the landing; however, a postaccident review of available weather data revealed that the wind was likely from the south about 12 to 13 knots.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The student pilot's failure to maintain helicopter control while maneuvering to land, which resulted in impact with an airplane and a hangar.


Aircraft (general) - Not attained/maintained
Environmental issues Airport structure - Effect on operation
Environmental issues Aircraft - Effect on operation
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Student/instructed pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Landing Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Age: 22, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s):None 
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 09/21/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  65 hours (Total, all aircraft), 65 hours (Total, this make and model), 3 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 33 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 23 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 4 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Guimbal
Registration: N715RK
Model/Series: Cabri G2
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2019
Amateur Built:No 
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 1255
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 12/12/2019, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1543 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 154.5 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-360-J2A
Registered Owner: H&H Helicopter, LLC
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: University of Dubuque
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: IIB, 979 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1615 CST
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  7 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 12 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 170°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.34 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: -9°C / -11°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Monticello, IA (MXO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Independence, IA (IIB)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1525 CST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Independence Municipal Airport (IIB)
Runway Surface Type: Concrete
Airport Elevation: 979 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 42.456111, -91.945278 (est)

University of Dubuque released the following statement:

"We can confirm that one of our helicopters and a student pilot were involved in an incident on Tuesday, Jan. 21, in Independence, Iowa. The student received non-life-threatening injuries and is being treated for those injuries. Our thoughts are with the student and the student’s family. A counselor will be at the Ed Babka Aviation Learning Center to assist our students, flight instructors, and staff. The safety of our students and flight instructors is at the forefront of our aviation program. We are cooperating with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board as they review the incident."

UPDATE: Wednesday's snowy weather has created some complications for federal investigators.

Al Roder, Independence City Manager, said the investigation by the FAA has been delayed until Monday. Until their arrival and their start on the investigation, Roder said the city is in a holding pattern and doesn't know any more than they did following the crash Tuesday evening.

The crash scene has now been cordoned off with the wreckage being covered by a tarp and the tail number covered in tape.

P&N Flight and Charter is the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) at the Independence Municipal Airport. Cole Norton, President of P&N, said the crash has little impact on their operations in Independence. Norton added they are cooperating with investigators and helping in what ways they can.

Norton said the airport in Independence sees a lot of flight students. Being a less-busy and non-towered airport, the runway is ideal for training.

AirNav, a pilot information website, lists the Independence Airport as having an average of 25 flights per day. That is a number obtained from the 12 months of 2018, therefore higher numbers in the summer for crop dusting traffic would inflate daily numbers in winter. An estimated 58% of airport traffic is local general aviation. The rest is made up from transient aircraft, military operations and air taxi service.

UPDATE: The City of Independence Fire Department says one of the crash victims was taken to a hospital with undisclosed injuries.

UPDATE: The University of Dubuque has commented on the recent UD helicopter crash:

"The university can confirm that there was an incident involving one of our helicopters and a student pilot. While the incident is under investigation, we can confirm that the student has non-life-threatening injuries and is being treated for his injuries. We will release more information as it becomes available," Stacey Ortman, Director of Public Information, said.

UPDATE: It has been confirmed that one person was on board a helicopter that crashed at the Independence Municipal Airport.

Independence city manager Al Roder says they will review the security camera footage of the crash and the FAA has been informed of the incident but it is unknown when they’ll arrive at the scene.

The helicopter comes from the University of Dubuque, where the school has a pilot training program.

The condition of the victims in the crash is still unknown.

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (KWWL) - Authorities are on scene of a helicopter crash a the Independence Municipal Airport.

Firefighters were called to the airport around 4:30 p.m.

Two people were inside the helicopter at the time of the crash, both were taken to a hospital.

Right now, there's no word on their conditions.

We do know two hangars were damaged, but no one was inside at the time.

Story and video ➤

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa – A helicopter crash in Independence on Tuesday happened when the copter collided with a hangar and a parked aircraft, according to a Federal Aviation Administration notice.

The crash happened during an instructional flight, according to the notice, and Independence police said only one person was on board.

The University of Dubuque on Tuesday confirmed that a student pilot with its aviation school was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The accident happened at about 4:15 p.m. at the Independence Municipal Airport, and crews with the fire department and police department were sent to the scene at 1640 230th St. The helicopter had substantial damage, and the hangar was also damaged, according to the Independence Fire Department. The Independence Police Department is investigating with the help of federal transportation officials.

The Guimbal Cabri G2 is owned by H&H Helicopters LLC of Sauget, Illinois, and was first registered and certified in October, according  to the Federal Aviation Administration registry.

Original article can be found here ➤

Today, January 21st, 2020 at 1615 Independence Fire Department was dispatched for a helicopter accident at the Independence Municipal Airport. Units arrived on scene and found a helicopter with significant damage along with some damage to a hanger. Crews assisted area ambulance with patient care along with securing the scene with Law Enforcement. One (1) patient was taken by ambulance to a local hospital with unknown injuries. Federal Aviation Administration has been contacted and will be assisting Independence Police with their investigation.

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