Saturday, September 12, 2020

Helio H-295-1400 Super Courier, N68857: Accidents occurred September 10, 2020 and September 25, 2016

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.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fairbanks, Alaska


Location: Fairbanks, AK
Accident Number: ANC20CA092
Date & Time: September 10, 2020
Registration: N68857
Aircraft: Helio H 295
Injuries: N/A
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air taxi & commuter - Non-scheduled
  
Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information
  
Aircraft Make: Helio 
Registration: N68857
Model/Series: H 295 No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held:
Operator Designator Code:
  
Meteorological Information and Flight Plan
  
Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: 
Destination:
  
Wreckage and Impact Information
  
Crew Injuries: 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: N/A
Latitude, Longitude: 64.809364,-147.71936 (est)  
 
The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fairbanks, Alaska


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: Delta Junction, AK
Accident Number: ANC16LA071
Date & Time: 09/25/2016, 1600 AKD
Registration: N68857
Aircraft: HELIO H-295
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled

Analysis

The airline transport pilot was departing from an 800-ft-long remote, unimproved airstrip that had accumulated between 1 and 2 inches of wet snow. He stated that the airplane seemed to accelerate normally but that it failed to become airborne at his established go/no-go decision point (about 400 ft down the airstrip). With about one-third of the airstrip remaining, he realized that, if he rejected the takeoff, he would be unable to stop the airplane on the remaining airstrip due to the wet snow. So, the pilot chose to continue the takeoff through the low brush at the end of the airstrip. The airplane became airborne, settled back to the ground, and then became airborne again. The main landing gear impacted brush on a small embankment, and the airplane then began to settle. The pilot saw a clear area ahead of the airstrip that led into a creek bed; he reduced the power to idle and held full-aft pressure on the control yoke. The airplane settled to the surface in a three-point attitude and came to rest in the creek bed, which resulted in substantial damage to the vertical stabilizer.

The pilot stated there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine 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 decision to take off from a wet, snowy airstrip and his delayed decision to abort the takeoff, which resulted in a runway excursion.

Findings

Aircraft
Takeoff distance - Capability exceeded (Cause)

Personnel issues
Decision making/judgment - Pilot (Cause)
Delayed action - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Snow/slush/ice covered surface - Effect on personnel (Cause)
Snow - Effect on operation (Cause)
Object/animal/substance - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information 

On September 25, 2016, about 1600 Alaska daylight time, a tundra tire-equipped Helio Courier H-295 airplane, N68857, sustained substantial damage following a runway excursion during takeoff from a remote, unimproved airstrip about 35 miles southwest of Delta Junction, Alaska. The certificated airline transport pilot, the sole occupant of the airplane, sustained no injury. The airplane was registered to Bursiel Equipment, Inc., Fairbanks, Alaska, and was being operated by Wright Air Service, Fairbanks, as a visual flight rules (VFR) on-demand commercial flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and a VFR flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from the Fairbanks International Airport, Fairbanks, about 1500.

During a telephone interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge on September 26, the pilot stated that airplane landed at the 800-foot gravel airstrip near the East Fork of the Little Delta River about 1540 to transport moose meat for a customer to Fairbanks. The moose meat was weighed at 625 pounds before being loaded into the airplane. The pilot reported on the NTSB Form 6120.1 Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report that about 1-2 inches of wet snow had accumulated on the gravel airstrip and winds originated from the north/northeast estimated at 7 knots. Additionally, marginal visual flight rules conditions were reported by the pilot as 5 statute miles with light snow. He reported he calculated his takeoff weight at 3400 pounds with a "middle center of gravity location."

The pilot stated that after conducting a pre-takeoff contamination check of the airplane, the flaps were set to 30 degrees, the trim set for takeoff, and the before takeoff checklist was completed. He positioned the airplane for a departure to the north, prior to locking the tail wheel, confirming the flaps and trim were set, and selecting a go/no-go point about 400 feet down the airstrip. The pilot began the takeoff sequence and reported that the initial indications were for a normal takeoff through the selected go/no-go decision point. With about one third of the airstrip remaining, the pilot realized the airplane would not become airborne at the designated go/no-go decision point and that he would be unable to stop in the remaining distance if he rejected the takeoff due to the snow on the airstrip. He elected to continue the takeoff through the low brush at the end of the airstrip in an attempt to gain more airspeed. He reported that the airplane became airborne, settled back to the surface, before becoming airborne again. The main landing gear impacted brush on a small embankment and the airplane began to settle. The pilot observed a clear area ahead of the airstrip that lead into a creek bed; he reduced the power to idle, and held full aft pressure on the control yoke. The airplane settled to the surface in a three-point attitude, and came to rest in the creek bed with a left wing low attitude. Upon exiting the airplane in the creek bed, the pilot noted that the wind had become calm and the snow fall had stopped.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the vertical stabilizer.

The pilot stated there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The closest weather reporting facility was the Allen Army Airfield, Fort Greely, Alaska, about 35 miles northeast of the accident site. At 1559, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) was reporting in part: wind, calm; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition, scattered clouds 1,300 feet, broken clouds 3,200 feet; temperature 37 degrees F; dew point 36 degrees F; altimeter 29.93 inHg.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Helio H-295 Airplane Flight Manual

The Helio H-295 Airplane Flight Manual includes various performance charts for determining the values for takeoff ground run and takeoff distance to clear a 50-foot obstacle. The performance chart for determining the values for the takeoff ground run has correction factors for wet grass and soft turf, but not for wet snow. The performance chart for determining the values for the takeoff distance to clear a 50-foot obstacle does not incorporate any correction factors for the pilot to utilize.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Soft Field Operations

The Federal Aviation Administration has published FAA-H-8083-3A Airplane Flying Handbook (2004). This document discusses takeoff considerations from soft fields and states in part:

Takeoffs and climbs from soft fields require the use of operational techniques for getting the airplane airborne as quickly as possible to eliminate the drag caused by tall grass, soft sand, mud, and snow, and may or may not require climbing over an obstacle. The technique makes judicious use of ground effect and requires a feel for the airplane and fine control touch. Soft surfaces or long, wet grass usually reduces the airplane's acceleration during the takeoff roll so much that adequate takeoff speed might not be attained if normal takeoff techniques were employed.

Takeoff and Obstacle Clearance Considerations

The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand has published Takeoff and Landing Performance (2011). This document discusses takeoff and obstacle clearance considerations and states in part:

Grass, soft ground or snow increase the rolling resistance and therefore the takeoff ground run will be longer than on a sealed or paved runway.

Plan to clear obstacles on the climb out path by at least 50 feet. Consider what your aircraft climb gradient is likely to be as part of your takeoff performance calculations – especially if terrain, wires, and the possibility of downdraughts are factors in the climb out path.

History of Flight

Takeoff
Miscellaneous/other (Defining event)

Runway excursion
Collision during takeoff/land 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport
Age:42, Male 
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/16/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/28/2016
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 13500 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1800 hours (Total, this make and model), 11300 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 300 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 110 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: HELIO
Registration: N68857
Model/Series: H-295
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1974
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 1463
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/06/2016, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.:3800 lbs 
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3090.2 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: GO-480-G1D6
Registered Owner: Bursiel Equipment, Inc.
Rated Power: 295 hp
Operator: Wright Air Service
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Commuter Air Carrier (135); On-demand Air Taxi (135)
Operator Does Business As: Wright Air Service
Operator Designator Code: HYTA

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PABI, 1277 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 31 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2359 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 66°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 1300 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 3200 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.93 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 3°C / 2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: Light - Rain
Departure Point: FAIRBANKS, AK (FAI)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: FAIRBANKS, AK (FAI)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:1500 AKD 
Type of Airspace: Class G; Military Operation Area

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: 63.788889, -146.798611 (est)

View of airplane in creek. 

 View of airplane in creek. 

 View of windshield separation. 

 View of vertical stabilizer. 

 View of vertical stabilizer. 

 View of vertical stabilizer.


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