Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Controlled Flight Into Terrain: Robinson R44 II, N716JL; accident occurred February 20, 2020 in Talkeetna, Alaska

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Anchorage, Alaska

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Talkeetna, Alaska 
Accident Number: ANC20CA023
Date & Time: February 20, 2020, 
Registration: N716JL
Aircraft: Robinson R44 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT) 
Injuries: 1 Minor, 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air taxi & commuter - Non-scheduled

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Private 
Age: 53,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter 
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane single-engine; Instrument airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: April 12, 2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 14650 hours (Total, all aircraft), 475 hours (Total, this make and model), 14500 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 40 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 25 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Passenger Information

Certificate: Age:
Airplane Rating(s): 
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): 
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: 
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N716JL
Model/Series: R44 II 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2004
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 10463
Landing Gear Type: N/A; Skid
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: February 5, 2020 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2728 Hrs at time of accident 
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-540 AE1A5
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 245 Horsepower
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand air taxi (135)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PAEC,1400 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 27 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 23:49 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 119°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Visibility 5 miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 1000 ft AGL 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 28.81 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: -2°C / -2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: Moderate - None - Mist
Departure Point: Talkeetna, AK (09AA)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Talkeetna, AK (PATK)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Sheldon Chalet 09AA
Runway Surface Type: Snow
Airport Elevation: 5742 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Snow
Runway Used: 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Valley/terrain following

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor, 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:63.048889,-150.770553(est)

All people on board were deemed safe after a helicopter accident occurred Thursday afternoon on a glacier at Denali National Park and Preserve.

Neither the two passengers nor the pilot were injured in the accident on Ruth Glacier, the National Park Service and flight service officials said. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident, and an NTSB official said one person reportedly sustained a minor injury.

On Thursday afternoon, the Robinson R44 helicopter operated by Talkeetna Air Taxi took off from the Sheldon Chalet, the park service said in a statement Friday. The chalet is a small luxury hotel located on a private inholding within Denali National Park. The park service said the accident occurred on the glacier, near the chalet, shortly after takeoff.

A statement from Talkeetna Air Taxi on Saturday said the helicopter was leaving from the Mountain House LLC property, and shortly after takeoff, the helicopter “contacted the glacial surface of the runway area, settling in deep snow.”

Mountain House LLC operates the Sheldon Chalet, the park service said.

Robert Sheldon, owner of Mountain House LLC, said that based on what he knew from witnesses at the site, the helicopter "had an unplanned landing,” but it was not a crash.

“There was no loss of life, and everyone walked away, and the helicopter simply ended up on its side,” Sheldon said.

Sheldon said that the two passengers were Talkeetna Air Taxi passengers and that “Sheldon Chalet is not involved in this in any way.”

Chalet staff who saw the accident occur activated an emergency transponder, the park service said in its Friday statement, and Denali National Park personnel were notified of the crash within about 20 minutes of takeoff. The request for help was canceled after chalet staff confirmed everyone on board was OK, the park service said Friday.

Clint Johnson, NTSB Alaska chief, said that the helicopter was departing from the chalet in an attempt to return to Talkeetna and that one passenger reported a minor injury. The pilot and passengers arrived in Talkeetna on Thursday evening, Talkeetna Air Taxi said.

The 2,000-square-foot Sheldon Chalet opened in February 2018. It sits a short distance from the smaller Don Sheldon Mountain House, which was built in 1966 by its namesake, a legendary glacier pilot. Both structures lie on a rocky outcropping above the Ruth Glacier, which the park service described as a popular location in the Alaska Range “due to the presence of air-taxi landing areas and its proximity to many prominent climbing peaks.”

Johnson, with the NTSB, said that given the amount of damage to the helicopter, the agency is classifying it as an accident.

“There was substantial damage to the aircraft and that classifies an accident,” Johnson said. “So this is an accident. No doubt about that.”

The damaged helicopter will be removed from the area next week if weather permits, the park service said Friday, adding that “there was no significant impact to natural resources reported.”

Original article can be found here ➤

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A helicopter with three people on board crashed Thursday afternoon on Ruth Glacier in Denali National Park, officials said in a press release Friday afternoon.

The National park Service says at approximately 3:20 p.m on Thursday, personnel from Denali National Park and Preserve were notified of a helicopter crash on Ruth Glacier via an emergency transponder.

Officials said at approximately 3:00 p.m., a Robinson R44 operated by Talkeetna Air Taxi, Inc. took off from the Sheldon Chalet with two guests and one pilot. Shortly after takeoff, the helicopter crashed near the chalet. The emergency transmission was activated by chalet staff who witnessed the incident.

The NPS said the request for assistance was rescinded at approximately 3:30 p.m.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is conducting an investigation into the crash, according to Alaska chief investigator Clint Johnson, who told Channel 2 News that one of the passengers on board the helicopter received minor injuries. Johnson said the helicopter was en route back to Talkeetna when the crash occurred.

The National Park Service said there was no significant impact to natural resources reported. Officials said the damaged aircraft will be removed next week, weather permitting. Park staff intend to visit the site in the near future to determine what efforts, if any, will be needed to remediate the area.

The Sheldon Chalet sits on a private parcel within Denali National Park and Preserve, and is operated by Mountain House, LLC, according to park officials.

Officials with Talkeetna Air Taxi could not be reached for comment Friday evening.

Original article can be found here ➤

1 comment:

  1. 'Robert Sheldon, owner of Mountain House LLC, said that based on what he knew from witnesses at the site, the helicopter "had an unplanned landing,” but it was not a crash.'

    Helicopters aren't supposed to land on their sides...


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