Friday, February 21, 2020

Robinson R44 II, N441KA: Accident occurred February 14, 2020 in Marfa, Presidio County, Texas

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock, Texas

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


https://registry.faa.gov/N441KA


Location: Marfa, TX
Accident Number: CEN20CA085
Date & Time: 02/14/2020, 1055 CST
Registration: N441KA
Aircraft: Robinson R44
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business

The helicopter pilot reported that he was flying parallel to a 10 ft barbed wire fence while herding cows into a livestock pen. While maneuvering, the helicopter's tail rotor struck the fence and the helicopter spun multiple times to the right. The helicopter ascended about 10 ft and the pilot retarded the throttle and lowered the collective to the full down position to minimize the rapid right spin. The helicopter impacted the ground and came to rest upright causing damage to the tail rotor drive system and tail boom.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 56, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed:No 
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 09/06/2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/19/2019
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 13465 hours (Total, all aircraft), 448 hours (Total, this make and model), 51 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 34 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 4 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N441KA
Model/Series:R44 II 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2005
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 10824
Landing Gear Type:Skid; 
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/21/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2680 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-AE1A5
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 240 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural Aircraft (137); Rotorcraft External Load (133); On-demand Air Taxi (135)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMRF, 4849 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1656 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 104°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: 
Wind Direction: 140°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.26 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 9°C / -1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Marfa, TX
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Marfa, TX
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0800 CST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 29.981944, -104.386944 (est)





Presidio County Sheriff's Deputies in Marfa responded to an rotorcraft distress call at approximately 10:55 A.M. on February 14th. 

Pilot Ken Kothman, was herding cattle at the "Little Dipper " ranch located SW of Marfa, Texas, when he accidentally got too close to a high wire fence.

The high wire fence damaged the tail rotor and caused the pilot to make an emergency landing. 

Pilot Ken Kothman sustained minor injuries and was able to walk away from the scene. 

Sheriff's deputies were able to locate the rotorcraft thanks to air support from the Texas Department of Public Safety Air Unit. 

Sheriff's deputies assisted the pilot to safety.

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