Saturday, January 04, 2020

Loss of Control in Flight: Bell 47G-2, N3755Z; accident occurred January 11, 2019 near Belen Regional Airport (KBRG), Valencia County, New Mexico

Main Wreckage Overview.

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albuquerque, New Mexico

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Belen, NM
Accident Number: CEN19LA067 
Date & Time: 01/11/2019, 1440 MST
Registration: N3755Z
Aircraft: Bell 47G
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Aft Tail Boom.

On January 11, 2019, about 1440 mountain standard time, a Bell 47G-2 helicopter, N3755Z, collided with terrain while maneuvering near Belen, New Mexico. The pilot and passenger were not injured, and the helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was owned by the pilot and operated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a personal flight without a flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight that departed Belen Regional Airport (BRG), near Belen, New Mexico, about 1400.

The pilot stated that shortly before the accident he had maneuvered the helicopter into an out-of-ground effect hover about 50 ft above the ground. The pilot reported that the carburetor heat was not engaged while he flew the helicopter in the hover. The pilot stated that he "got complacent about maintaining main rotor speed" and subsequently observed an unsafe main rotor speed. The pilot lowered the collective control for an immediate landing and engaged the carburetor heat. He attempted to reduce the helicopter's descent rate before impact by increasing the collective control, but the helicopter landed hard in the soft terrain. The main rotor blades subsequently impacted the tail boom and tail rotor. The pilot reported that after impact the engine continued to run at about 1,500 rpm, and that he secured the engine by turning the fuel valve to OFF. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical anomalies with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation. The pilot postulated that an insufficient main rotor speed had precluded him from making a normal flare and landing. The pilot stated that the engine might have encountered carburetor icing as he maneuvered the helicopter into the out-of-ground effect hover at a decreased engine power setting, which, in turn, might have contributed to his failure to maintain adequate main rotor speed while hovering.

A postaccident review of available meteorological data established that day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site. The nearest aviation weather reporting station was located at Belen Regional Airport (BRG), about 3 miles north of the accident site. At 1435, about 5 minutes before the accident, the BRG automated surface observing system reported: wind 310° at 8 knots, 10 miles surface visibility, clear sky, temperature 8°C, dew point 1°C, and an altimeter setting 29.96 inches of mercury.

According to a carburetor icing probability chart contained in FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-09-35, entitled "Carburetor Icing Prevention", the recorded temperature and dew point were in the range of susceptibility for the formation of carburetor icing at all engine power settings.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 72, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: None None
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/29/2007
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 9000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 100 hours (Total, this make and model), 3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell
Registration: N3755Z
Model/Series: 47G 2
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1955
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 1698
Landing Gear Type: Skid;
Seats: 3
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/20/1980, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 7163.3 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: VO-435-A1F
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 260 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: BRG, 5200 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1435 MST
Direction from Accident Site: 180°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 310°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.96 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / 1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Belen, NM (BRG)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Belen, NM (BRG)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1400 MST
Type of Airspace: Class G

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: 34.618889, -106.832778

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