Sunday, July 05, 2020

Other Weather Encounter: Robinson R44 II, N7530B; Accident occurred June 26, 2020 in Pioche, Lincoln County, Nevada

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Las Vegas, Nevada

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Oho Cattle Company Inc

Location: Pioche, Nevada
Accident Number: WPR20CA197
Date & Time: June 26, 2020, 17:45 Local 
Registration: N7530B
Aircraft: Robinson R44 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Other weather encounter
Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot of the helicopter was flying over mountainous terrain, about 500 ft agl, with moderate wind and turbulence conditions. After he slowed the helicopter to 60-70 knots it suddenly and uncontrollably descended at a rapid rate in a severe downdraft. The pilot maneuvered toward lower terrain to accelerate but was unable to arrest the descent before the helicopter collided with the ground tail first. The helicopter fuselage was substantially damaged. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident malfunctions or failures with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation.

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 directional control of the airplane during an aborted landing, which resulted in a ground loop, runway excursion, and subsequent nose over.


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Aircraft Altitude - Not attained/maintained
Environmental issues Downdraft - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-low-alt flying Other weather encounter (Defining event)
Maneuvering-low-alt flying Loss of control in flight
Uncontrolled descent Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Private 
Age: 49,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Non
e Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: June 1, 2020
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: July 21, 2019
Flight Time: 3914.3 hours (Total, all aircraft), 716 hours (Total, this make and model), 3542 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 40.5 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 28 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 7 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Passenger Information

Certificate: Age:
Airplane Rating(s):
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s):
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: 
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Passenger Information

Certificate: Age:
Airplane Rating(s): 
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): 
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s):
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification:
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson 
Registration: N7530B
Model/Series: R44 II 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2004
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 10390
Landing Gear Type: N/A; Skid 
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: July 21, 2019 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3421.3 Hrs at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C126 installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-AE1A5
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power:
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: KSGU
Distance from Accident Site: 62 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 15:00 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 136°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Lowest Ceiling: Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 12 knots / 20 knots 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 270° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.87 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Panaca, NV (1L1)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 16:15 Local
Type of Airspace: Unknown

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 37.981109,-114.604721

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