Friday, May 22, 2020

Bell OH-58A-BF Kiowa, N153SA: Accident occurred May 20, 2020 in West Branch, Ogemaw County, Michigan

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

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: West Branch, MI
Accident Number: CEN20LA187
Date & Time: 05/20/2020, 0933 EDT
Registration: N153SA
Aircraft: Bell OH-58A
Injuries:1 None 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 20, 2020, about 0933 eastern daylight time (edt), a Bell OH-58A, N153SA, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near West Bank, Michigan. The pilot was not injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) personal flight.

The pilot reported that he and his passenger departed the pilot's private airstrip for a local flight to observe recent flood damage in the area. As they were en route to the area, the pilot felt an airframe vibration and decided to make a precautionary autorotation in a field. He did not observe any caution or warning lights, or horns associated with the vibration. The pilot reported that after clearing some trees, he heard the low rotor RPM horn come on. He reduced collective and made a hard-run-on landing. The helicopter slid about 20-25 ft on its main skids, coming the rest upright. Main rotor impacted tail boom and severed the tail rotor drive shaft.

The helicopter was moved to a secure storage facility where it will later be examined.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:Bell 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built:No 
Operator:On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held:None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: Y31, 882 ft msl
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction:
Lowest Ceiling:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: West Branch, MI (Y31)
Destination: West Branch, MI (Y31)

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:

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