Wednesday, July 22, 2020

MD Helicopters MD600N, N745BW: Accidents occurred July 20, 2020 and February 05, 2016

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

Additional Participating Entities: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Sacramento, California
MD Helicopters Inc; Mesa, Arizona
Rolls-Royce; Indianapolis, Indiana
Federal Aviation Administration; Fort Worth, Texas

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


https://registry.faa.gov/N745BW


Location: San Andreas, CA
Accident Number: WPR20LA228
Date & Time: 07/20/2020, 0938 PDT
Registration:N745BW
Aircraft: Md Helicopter 600
Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Aerial Observation

On July 20, 2020, about 0938 Pacific daylight time, a McDonnell Douglas 600N helicopter, N745BW, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near San Andreas, California. The pilot and two passenger/observers were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

In a telephone interview with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge, the pilot reported that while performing low-altitude inflight powerline visual assessment operations about 250 ft above ground level (agl), and while on the second circuit of the morning, he and the right seat passenger/observer detected smoke in the cockpit/cabin area. Subsequently, the pilot elected to make an emergency descent, to an open area, during which at about 100 ft agl, the engine experienced a total power failure. The helicopter subsequently landed hard, during which the right skid failed. Shortly after the pilot and the two passenger/observers successfully egressed the helicopter uninjured. A fire erupted, which consumed the aircraft.

The helicopter was recovered the following day to a secured storage facility for future examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Md Helicopter
Registration: N745BW
Model/Series:600 N
Aircraft Category:Helicopter
Amateur Built:No
Operator: Brim Equipment Leasing Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: CPU, 1328 ft msl
Observation Time: 0955 PDT
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point:25°C / 9°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:
Altimeter Setting: 29.99 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Departure Point: Angels Camp, CA (NA)
Destination: Angels Camp, CA (NA)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:1 None
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Fire:On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries:3 None
Latitude, Longitude: 38.123611, -120.773056 (est)




Calaveras County Sheriff's Office
MEDIA RELEASE
Contact: Sergeant Greg Stark
Release Date: July 20th, 2020
Release Time: 1:30 PM

Helicopter Crash (San Andreas, CA)

On July 20, 2020 at about 10:08 AM the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department received a 911 call reporting a helicopter crash near Hwy 12 and Toll Bridge Rd, San Andreas. The impact caused minor injuries to the three occupants in helicopter and started a vegetation fire. San Andreas Fire, Cal-Fire and Consolidated Fire responded and were able to stop the forward progress of the fire before it spread to a nearby house and barn.

Calaveras Detectives were requested to begin an investigation. They learned the MD Helicopter MD600N PG&E contract helicopter, experienced a loss of power causing it to rapidly lose elevation. Calaveras Investigators will be coordinating their efforts with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to determine the cause of the accident.



Update at 12:05pm: Three people were inside the helicopter that crashed at around 10am today off Highway 12 near San Andreas.

Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Greg Stark says that the helicopter, contracted by PG&E, reportedly lost power and crashed.  The helicopter is model MD600N.

PG&E spokesperson Brandi Merlo adds, “The pilot and two PG&E electric troublemen were able to exit the helicopter before it caught on fire. The fire was quickly extinguished and the three were transported to a local hospital. PG&E is working closely with first responders to ensure the safety of the area.”

The NTSB and FAA have been called in to investigate the crash.

Update at 10:45am: Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, Sgt. Greg Stark, confirms that a helicopter crashed this morning in an area off Highway 12 between San Andreas and Valley Springs. It is a helicopter that is contracted with PG&E. He adds that there are “minor injuries” reported. It ignited a small fire that was quickly controlled by arriving officials. 

Original story posted at 10:20am: San Andreas, CA — Numerous emergency responders are heading to a report of a helicopter crash in a field located off Highway 12 between San Andreas and Valley Springs.

The CHP indicates that the helicopter crashed near a ranch property and it started a small fire. The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office and firefighters are also responding. 


https://www.mymotherlode.com

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland FAA-FSDO; Hillsboro, Oregon
Brim Aviation; Ashland, Oregon
MD Helicopters Inc; Mesa, Arizona
Helicopter Technology Company; Los Angeles, California

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Location: Ashland, OR
Accident Number: WPR16LA081
Date & Time: 02/05/2016, 1430 PDT
Registration: N745BW
Aircraft: MCDONNELL DOUGLAS HELICOPTER 600N
Aircraft Damage:Substantial 
Defining Event: Sys/Comp malf/fail (non-power)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Positioning

Analysis 

The commercial pilot reported that, during a cross-country helicopter flight, the main rotor blades seemed minimally out of track. After departing on the last leg of the flight, he noticed a slight "hop" as he made an ascending 180° right turn, but later stated that he had experienced worse with gusting winds and door-off operations. In straight and level flight, the blade track appeared to be no different than on the previous legs. During the descent toward the destination, he noticed that the hop became more apparent when the blades were unloaded. Maintenance personnel subsequently found a crack in one main rotor blade from the trailing edge forward to the spar at a point midspan near the beginning of the trim tab.

Examination revealed a visible crack on the top skin, with an opposing crack on the bottom skin. The crack surfaces were flat and light grey with features indicative of fatigue cracking from the trailing edges of the upper and lower skins forward to an internal "C" channel. No gross mechanical damage was visible, and abrasions visible after stripping paint from the blade appeared to be too small to initiate the fatigue crack. The blade had been in service for about 2/3 of its service hour life and more than half of its cycle life at the time of discovery. The reason for crack initiation could not be determined.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
Fatigue cracking of a main rotor blade for reasons that could not be determined based on the available information.

Findings

Aircraft
Main rotor blade system - Fatigue/wear/corrosion (Cause)

Not determined
Not determined - Unknown/Not determined (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Enroute-cruise
Sys/Comp malf/fail (non-power) (Defining event)

On February 5, 2016, about 1430 Pacific daylight time, a McDonnell Douglas Helicopter (MDHI) 600N, N745BW, experienced a cracked main rotor blade at Ashland, Oregon. The commercial pilot was not injured; the helicopter sustained substantial damage to a main rotor blade. Brim Aviation was operating the helicopter under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The cross-country positioning flight departed Alturas, California, about 1340 and was destined for Ashland.

The pilot reported that he was in one helicopter, while another pilot flew in another helicopter for the ferry flight to Ashland. Three intermediate stops were planned along the route of flight. All flight operations and characteristics had been normal, but he noted that the main rotor blades seemed minimally out of track. After departure from Alturas, he noticed a slight hop as he made an ascending 180° right turn out but stated that he had experienced worse with gusting winds and door off operations. In straight and level flight, blade track appeared to be no different than on the previous legs. During the descent into Ashland, he noticed that the hop had become more apparent when the blades were unloaded. He asked the trailing pilot to look at the rotor system for any abnormalities in flight, and the trail pilot indicated that they looked out of track. After landing, the pilot informed maintenance that the track and balance of both helicopters needed to be checked prior to the next operation. Maintenance personnel reported that there was a crack in one main rotor blade from the trailing edge forward to the spar at a point midspan near the beginning of the trim tab.

After the operator discovered the crack, the blade was initially sent to Helicopter Technology Company for examination. The damage to the rotor blade was reported to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on March 9, 2016. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 53, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/21/2015
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/01/2016
Flight Time:  9400 hours (Total, all aircraft), 3000 hours (Total, this make and model), 9400 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 115 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 55 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: MCDONNELL DOUGLAS HELICOPTER
Registration: N745BW
Model/Series: 600N
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1998
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: RN045
Landing Gear Type: Skid;
Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/07/2016, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 4500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time: 4672 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: ALLISON
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 250-M47
Registered Owner: BRIM EQUIPMENT LEASING INC
Rated Power: 808 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: KMIR
Observation Time: 1353 PDT
Distance from Accident Site:
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition:  Scattered / 5500 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 16°C / 6°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Visibility (RVR):  
Altimeter Setting: 30.22 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Alturas, CA (KAAT)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Ashland, OR (S03)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1340 PDT
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: Ashland (S03)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1885 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 30
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3603 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop

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: 42.190000, -122.660556 (est) 

Tests And Research

The damaged blade was examined by the NTSB Material's Laboratory. The blade had a time in service (TIS) of 2,013.4 hours, 11,065 torque events, and a retirement index number (RIN) of 587,640. The blade's published service life is 3,200 hours or 1 million RIN.

Visual examination revealed a visible crack on the top skin with an opposed crack on the bottom skin. The crack surfaces were flat and light grey with features indicative of fatigue cracking from the trailing edges of the upper and lower skins forward to an internal "C" channel.

Examination using a scanning electron microscope showed striations and other fracture features within the fatigue crack region. The initial area of origin was in the area of the trailing edge of the upper skin, and striation orientations pointed to the vicinity of the upper corner of the skin.

From the origin, the fatigue crack propagated forward in the upper skin to just past the "C" channel. At the "V" strip, the fatigue crack reinitiated at the upper aft corner of the strip and propagated forward in the upper leg of the "V" and down and forward through the lower leg of the "V." In the lower skin crack surface, additional fatigue crack propagation initiated adjacent to the lower aft corner of the "V" strip then propagated forward and aft in the skin. Two additional fatigue crack paths were discovered in the "C" channel. The complete Material Laboratory Report can be found in the public docket.  The other five main rotor blades were sent to the manufacturer for examination, and no anomalies were detected.
















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