Sunday, March 08, 2020

Hard Landing: Hughes 269A, N653CH; accident occurred August 25, 2019 at Northumberland County Airport (N79), Shamokin, Pennsylvania

View of damage to the aft crossmember. 

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Shamokin, PA
Accident Number: GAA19CA514
Date & Time: 08/25/2019, 0945 EDT
Registration: N653CH
Aircraft: Hughes 269A
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

The helicopter pilot reported that he was being evaluated for a pilot position with a prospective employer, who was a pilot-rated passenger who occupied the right front seat.

The pilot in the left seat was asked to perform an autorotation as part of the evaluation, and he complied. During the autorotation entry phase, the pilot noticed that the rotor and engine needles split, and the engine tachometer indicated 0 RPM, and the pilot believed that the engine had failed.

The airplane pilot-rated passenger in the right seat, remarked that it was a, "helluva (needle) split." The pilot maintained the rotor RPM in the green and entered the flare about 40ft above the ground. He attempted to cushion the landing, but the helicopter landed hard.

When asked during an interview with FAA Aviation Safety Inspectors, the pilot reported that he could not hear if the engine was running because he was wearing a noise canceling headset.

The FAA Inspector that performed the post-accident helicopter examination reported that the throttle linkage functioned normally. All spark plugs were removed and examined with indications of normal combustion. A fuel sample was obtained through the sump valve and revealed no indication of water or particulate contamination. According to the FAA Inspector, the wreckage examination failed to identify any discrepancy or malfunction of the airframe, or its components, that would have contributed to the mishap."

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the horizontal airframe tube cross-member. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial; Private
Age: 27, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Helicopter; Instrument Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/09/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/25/2018
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 378 hours (Total, all aircraft), 4 hours (Total, this make and model), 311 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 60 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 22 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Hughes
Registration: N653CH
Model/Series: 269A No Series
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1965
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 96-0653
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  Unknown
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1670 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
Engine Model/Series: HIO-360
Registered Owner: Kelley Aviation Consultants Llc
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: Kelley Aviation Consultants Llc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSEG, 450 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 14 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1253 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 266°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 7500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.31 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 14°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Shamokin, PA (N79)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Shamokin, PA (N79)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0900 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Northumberland County (N79)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 880 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 08
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3297 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing; Simulated Forced Landing; Traffic Pattern

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: 40.836944, -76.552500 (est)