Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Eurocopter AS 350B3e Ecureuil, N755AE: Fatal accident occurred July 29, 2020 in Pioche, Lincoln County, Nevada

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Las Vegas, Nevada 

Rainier Heli International Inc

Location: Pioche, NV

Accident Number: WPR20LA244
Date & Time: 07/29/2020, 1000 PDT
Registration: N755AE
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business

On July 29, 2020, about 1000 Pacific daylight time, an American Eurocopter Corp. AS350B3 helicopter, N755AE, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Pioche, Nevada. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 positioning flight.

A witness reported dropping off the pilot and passenger at the helicopter and noticed that the long line was laid out and attached to the belly of the helicopter.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors, who responded to the site, the helicopter was on its right side in mountainous densely forested desert terrain at an elevation of 6,741 ft mean sea level (MSL). (See Figure 1). The steel long line cable impacted the main rotor blades and was also entangled in the separated tail rotor. The tail rotor with one blade attached was 21 ft. from the main wreckage. Approximately 30 ft. of long line and one tail rotor blade were not located. The vertical stabilizer was 365 ft. from the main wreckage.

The helicopter was recovered to a secure facility for further examination.

Figure 1 - View of Main Wreckage with long line visible.
(Lincoln County Sheriff's Office)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N755AE
Model/Series:AS350 B3
Aircraft Category:Airplane
Amateur Built:No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Rotorcraft External Load (133)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSGU, 2936 ft msl
Observation Time: 1656 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 67 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / -2°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Unknown
Departure Point: Cedar City, UT (CDC)
Destination: Pioche, NV

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries:1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:N/A
Aircraft Explosion:None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 37.920000, -114.540000 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

James E. Robinson
April 23rd, 1959 - July 29th, 2020

James (Jim) E. Robinson, 61, Elizabeth, IN, passed away unexpectedly Wednesday in Pioche, NV. He was born in New Albany, IN, to James W. Robinson (deceased) and Patricia Busby. He graduated from Floyd Central HS in 1977 and went on to graduate from Purdue University in 1981 with a BA in Aeronautical Engineering. He was an entrepreneur in Aviation and a Visionary Man and a World Traveler. Along with operating several companies as Owner, President and Chief Pilot, he also had several ongoing cutting-edge projects. One thing he frequently quoted was, "You can be a pioneer or a settler and I choose to be a pioneer" and he certainly was.

Survivors, his sons, Joe Robinson and Sean Robinson; daughter, Jenny Laios (Chris) along with six grandchildren, Owen, Kelliann, Wyatt, Maggie, Daxon and Shelby.  Also survived by his mother, Patricia Busby (Arthur) and step-mother, Phyllis Robinson; four sisters and five brothers, along with numerous nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be August 10th, 2020 at the Market Street Chapel of Naville & Seabrook Funeral home at 1119 East Market St, New Albany IN. Funeral service will be August 11, 2020. Service to be held at Grace Lutheran Church in New Albany, IN with burial to follow at Kraft-Graceland in New Albany, Indiana.

Expressions of sympathy in honor of Jim to Challenge Air at With over 17000 hours of flight time in the air he never lost his passion to pass on his love of aviation to the next generation.

LaDonna Jean (Dillard) Stroud
August 13th, 1967 - July 29th, 2020

LaDonna Jean (Dillard) Stroud, 52, of Elizabeth, Indiana, went home to be with the Lord on July 29, 2020. Her earthly life came to an end in a tragic helicopter accident in the Nevada Mountains. She was accompanied in death by her fiancé, James (Jim) E. Robinson of Elizabeth, Indiana.

LaDonna was born in Paoli, Indiana on August 13, 1967, the daughter of Wayne and Brenda Dillard. She was a 1986 graduate of Paoli High School. As a young woman, she worked as a medical transcriptionist which began a devoted career as a lifelong nurse. She graduated IUPUI with her BSN in 2015.

Her most recent accomplishment was obtaining her Master of Science in Nursing with her focus on Family Nurse Practitioner from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2019.

LaDonna had previously worked as a flight nurse with the Air Evac Lifeteam in Paoli, Indiana.  Over the years, she held various positions in the nursing field and was most recently employed with IU Health Southern Indiana Physicians as a Family Nurse Practitioner.  As a young mother, she committed her life to Christ and was baptized in the Lord at The Paoli Church of Christ. She was a member of Northside Christian Church in New Albany, Indiana.

LaDonna was one of the most loving, caring, and adventurous people anyone could know. Most of all she was a wonderful mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, and friend. LaDonna’s favorite thing to do was spend time with her precious grandchildren, Bentley, Kaymen, Everett and Kashtyn. They were the light of “Gammy” and Jim’s world. 

LaDonna and Jim loved to spend time flying, sailing, cruising, and traveling the world with friends and family. Some of her favorite trips included Mackinac Island, Australia, Fiji, Bora Bora, St. Lucia, and the Bahamas. She would often accompany Jim on work trips, doing what they enjoyed, flying and seeing new places.

She is survived by:
Daughter: Olivia Reeder (Kyle) of Georgetown, IN
Grandson: Everett Reeder
Son: Evan Stroud (Sierra) of New Albany, IN
Granddaughter: Kashtyn Stroud
Grandsons: Bentley and Kaymen Stroud, and their mother, Haley James of English, IN
First husband and father to her two children: Chris Stroud (Angela) of Georgetown, IN
Parents: Everett Wayne and Brenda Newlin Dillard of Paoli, IN
Brothers: Mike Dillard (Beverly) of Paoli, IN and Darren Dillard of Paoli, IN
LaDonna is also survived by several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and an abundance of friends.

Funeral services will be August 9th, 2020 at the Dillman-Scott Funeral Home located at 226 W Campbell St, Paoli, Indiana 47454. Visitation will be August 8th, 2020.Interment will be in the Paoli Community Cemetery. 

Donations can be made to the charity of your choice, in LaDonna’s name, or to the family to assist in offsetting expenses.

1 comment:

  1. "Approximately 30 ft. of long line and one tail rotor blade were not located. The vertical stabilizer was 365 ft. from the main wreckage."

    Could it be that the long line contacted terrain during forward flight at speed in a manner that swung it up into the tail rotor? Hard to visualize how the vertical stab went missing so far away.


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