Friday, May 22, 2020

Hard Landing; Bell OH-58A-BF Kiowa, N153SA; accident occurred May 20, 2020 in West Branch, Ogemaw County, Michigan

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: West Branch, Michigan
Accident Number: CEN20LA187
Date & Time: May 20, 2020, 09:33 Local
Registration: N153SA
Aircraft: Bell OH-58A 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing 
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Factual Information
On May 20, 2020, about 0933 eastern daylight time, an experimental exhibition category Bell OH-58A helicopter, N153SA, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near West Bank, Michigan. The commercial pilot and passenger were not injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.
The pilot told Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors that he and his passenger departed Peach Lake Heliport (89MI), his private heliport for a local flight to Midland, Michigan, to observe recent flood damage. During the return flight, at an altitude of about 500 ft above ground level, the pilot felt an airframe vibration, and he immediately entered a precautionary autorotation. He did not observe any caution or warning lights or horns associated with the vibration. The pilot made a 200° left turn to an open field, and after the helicopter cleared some trees during the approach, the low rotor rpm horn activated. The pilot reduced collective and made a hard run-on landing. The helicopter slid about 20 to 30 ft on its skids before it came to rest upright. The main rotor drooped, and one blade struck the tail boom, severing the tail rotor drive shaft; the underside of the tail boom also sustained impact damage.
The pilot could not describe to Federal Aviation Administration inspectors the location or frequency of the vibration, and the passenger reported that he felt no vibration. Postaccident and follow-up inspections by the pilot's mechanic found no evidence of the source of the vibration.
Pilot Information
Certificate: Commercial; Private 
Age: 69,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed Last 
FAA Medical Exam: April 29, 2020
Occupational Pilot: No Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 3900 hours (Total, all aircraft), 100 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information
Aircraft Make: Bell
Registration: N153SA
Model/Series: OH-58A 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1968
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental (Special) 
Serial Number: 68-16711
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 5
Date/Type of Last Inspection: Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Turbo shaft
Airframe Total Time: 
Engine Manufacturer: Allison
Engine Model/Series: 250-C10D
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 420 Horsepower
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Meteorological Information and Flight Plan
Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: Y31,882 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 3135 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 14:35 Local 
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 90°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 30.27 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C / 5°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: West Branch, MI (89MI)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: West Branch, MI (89MI) 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 08:39 Local
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: 44.215557,-84.188056 

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