Saturday, August 15, 2020

Loss of Engine Power (Partial): Robinson R22 Beta, N830J; accident occurred July 02, 2018 at at Georgetown Municipal Airport (KGTU), Williamson County, Texas

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas
Robinson Helicopter Company; Torrance, California
Veracity Aviation; Seguin, Texas

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Georgetown, TX
Accident Number: CEN18LA251
Date & Time: 07/02/2018, 1445 CDT
Registration: N830J
Aircraft: Robinson R22
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional

On July 2, 2018, about 1445 central daylight time, a Robinson Helicopter Company R-22 Beta II, N830J, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Georgetown, Texas. The flight instructor and the commercial pilot sustained no injury. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

The flight instructor reported that the purpose of the local area flight was to conduct flight instructor training with the commercial pilot. While on the last traffic pattern iteration, on the downwind leg about 500 ft above ground level (agl) and about 70 kts, the flight instructor reported he was visually outside of the helicopter, scanning for traffic, and clearing the helicopter for the base leg turn when he heard the low rotor revolutions per minute (rpm) horn activate. The flight instructor came on the flight controls with the pilot and he immediately reduced the collective and applied throttle. The flight instructor heard the low rotor rpm horn cease and observed the low rotor rpm light extinguish, while he visually confirmed the engine and rotor rpm was about 97%. The flight instructor began the base leg turn and heard the low rotor rpm horn again. The flight instructor observed the tachometer and noticed that the engine and rotor rpm were decaying. The flight instructor assessed the situation and felt that the engine was not capable of maintaining the rotor rpm within safe operating limits and he entered an autorotation.

The flight instructor scanned the instruments and observed the airspeed was about 55 kts. He reported he could not hear noise emitting from the engine and surmised that the engine had ceased producing power. After the entry to the flare of the autorotation, the flight instructor reported that he was focused on maintaining the rotor rpm and maneuvering the helicopter to his selected landing area. About 35 ft agl, he began the flare to reduce the forward airspeed and the rate of descent. The helicopter touched down on a yard at a private residence, with a small amount of forward airspeed. The skids impacted a concrete driveway at the residence.

The impact with the driveway resulted in the helicopter pitching nose low with the tail elevated, along with a right yaw. Both tail rotor blades impacted the ground, resulting in both blades becoming separated about mid-span. The tail boom and the vertical stabilizer sustained substantial damage from the ground impact, along with minor damage sustained to the tail rotor stinger and skids. Once the helicopter came to rest, the flight instructor observed that the engine was at idle and he performed an emergency shutdown. Both occupants egressed from the helicopter without further incident.

The flight instructor reported that the helicopter had an adequate amount of fuel for the flight. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe and engine that would have precluded normal operation. An examination of the maintenance records provided by the operator revealed no evidence of any uncorrected mechanical discrepancies with the helicopter.

The operator reported that the pilot receiving instruction may have inadvertently gripped and reduced the throttle while in flight. The pilot was historically known for being "heavy" or "rough" on the flight controls. A postaccident flight with the pilot by the operator showed the pilot being "heavy" or "rough" again on the flight controls.

The helicopter was equipped with a carburetor heat assist device. The Robinson R-22 Pilot's Operating Handbook discusses the carburetor heat assist device and states, "the carb heat assist correlates application of carburetor heat with changes in collective setting to reduce pilot workload. Lowering collective mechanically adds heat and raising collective reduces heat." The temperature and dewpoint at the time of the accident were conducive to the formation of carburetor icing (for glide and cruise power) per the Federal Aviation Administration Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-09-35 Carburetor Icing Prevention.

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age:35, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s):Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Helicopter; Instrument Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/23/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/23/2018
Flight Time: (Estimated) 920 hours (Total, all aircraft), 575 hours (Total, this make and model), 781 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 180 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 56 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 56, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/12/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N830J
Model/Series: R22 BETA
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 4236
Landing Gear Type: Skid;
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/29/2018, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1370 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3814 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming Engines
ELT: C91 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-360-J2A
Registered Owner: Veracity Aviation, LLC
Rated Power: 145 hp
Operator: Veracity Aviation, LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141); On-demand Air Taxi (135)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KGTU, 787 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1937 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 232°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 200 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots / 17 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 130°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 36°C / 18°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Georgetown, TX (GTU)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Georgetown, TX (GTU)
Type of Clearance: Traffic Advisory; VFR
Departure Time: 1400 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Georgetown Muni (GTU)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 789 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 18
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5004 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing; Touch and Go; Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 30.679444, -97.678333 (est)

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