Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Dynamic Rollover: Rotorway Exec 162F, N311RM; accident occurred May 16, 2020 in Rochester, Fulton County, Indiana

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Indianapolis, Indiana

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Rochester, IN
Accident Number: CEN20CA180
Date & Time: 05/16/2020, 1910 EDT
Registration: N311RM
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Dynamic rollover
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The commercial pilot reported that he intended to take the helicopter out to practice hover flight. As he started to lift the helicopter off of the ground and move towards the grass, he lost control of the helicopter and it impacted the ground. An examination of the helicopter revealed substantial damage to the tail boom and main rotor. The pilot attributed his inability to maintain control of the helicopter to a stronger than expected crosswind and that he had not flown a helicopter for about 19 years.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain control of the helicopter during lift off. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's lack of recent experience flying a helicopter.


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Personnel issues Recent experience - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-hover Dynamic rollover (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 84, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; 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 3 Unknown
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/28/2009
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/22/2019
Flight Time:  1357 hours (Total, all aircraft), 80 hours (Total, this make and model), 0 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: ROTORWAY
Registration: N311RM
Model/Series: EXEC F 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture:1997 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental 
Serial Number:1672 
Landing Gear Type: Skid 
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 206 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rotorway
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 150 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KRCR, 791 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time:1915 EDT 
Direction from Accident Site: 331°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 90°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C / 13°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Rochester, IN (RCR)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Rochester, IN (RCR)
Type of Clearance: None 
Departure Time: 1910 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class E 

Airport Information

Airport: Fulton County (RCR)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation:789 ft 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 41.066111, -86.189167 (est)

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