Sunday, August 16, 2020

Collision During Takeoff: Hughes 369, N1601Y; accident occurred September 03, 2018 in Orchard Lake, Oakland County, Michigan

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

Additional Participating Entities: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Belleville, Michigan
Boeing; Mesa, Arizona
MD Helicopters; Mesa, Arizona 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Orchard Lake, MI
Accident Number: CEN18LA365
Date & Time: 09/03/2018, 1500 EDT
Registration: N1601Y
Aircraft Damage:Substantial 
Defining Event: Collision during takeoff/land
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 3, 2018, about 1500 eastern daylight time, a MD Helicopters 369E, N1601Y, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Orchard Lake, Michigan. The private pilot sustained serious injuries. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot reported he was planning a short flight in the local area. The helicopter was stationed on a wheeled helicopter transportation dolly at his private heliport. The helicopter departed from the dolly and came to an in-ground effect hover. As the pilot was maneuvering the helicopter to the right of the dolly at a hover, a flock of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) "came flying into the front and right" of the helicopter. The pilot reported he remembered "quickly moving" the helicopter back to the right to avoid the birds, and that it was the last action he could recollect until after the impact when the helicopter was laying on its side. The helicopter came to rest on its left side on a flat grass field in front of the heliport, with the main rotor blades separated from the main rotor hub and the tail rotor gearbox separated from the tailboom. The pilot reported there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe and engine that would have precluded normal operation.

Emergency services personnel extracted the pilot from the wreckage. The pilot sustained serious injuries to his head and body. A review of the pilot's medical records by the NTSB found the left side of the pilot's face and the right side of the pilot's head sustained impact injuries from the accident sequence. The pilot was not wearing a flight helmet during the accident flight, nor was he required to do so. The NTSB investigator-in-charge proposed to the manufacturer's air safety department about producing and distributing educational guidance encouraging pilots to wear a flight helmet and the manufacturer agreed. MD Helicopters Operational Safety Notice OSN2019-002 Aviation Life Support Equipment – Flight Helmets was created and released to the public in April 2019.

The pilot's private heliport is located about 350 ft south of the Upper Straits Lake in a residential area. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services, Canada Geese build nests on the ground near water and consume grass and aquatic plants. The USDA additionally states that, "Canada geese can collide with aircraft causing fatal results." 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 87, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s):None 
Toxicology Performed:No 
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/25/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 10/01/2017
Flight Time: (Estimated) , 3600 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N1601Y
Model/Series: MD-369 E
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1987
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 0216E
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/17/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2250 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time: 2942 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Rolls-Royce
Engine Model/Series: 250-C20B
Registered Owner: HiFlite Inc.
Rated Power: 492 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: KPTK, 976 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2038 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 350°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 6000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 290°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.19 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 30°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: Moderate - In the Vicinity - Thunderstorms - No Precipitation
Departure Point: Orchard Lake, MI (7MI1)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Orchard Lake, MI (7MI1)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1500 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: McPhail Heliport (7MI1)
Runway Surface Type: Concrete; Grass/turf; Metal/Wood
Airport Elevation: 970 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 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 42.572222, -83.395000 (est)

1 comment:

  1. Tough break to be taken out by birds when you are Jedi-level expert on taking off and landing on a dolly right next to utility lines and poles.