Sunday, September 27, 2020

Robinson R22 Mariner, N194HC: Accident occurred September 06, 2020 at Page Field (KFMY), Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida

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.

California Spyder LLC

Location: Fort Myers, FL
Accident Number: ERA20LA310
Date & Time: 09/06/2020, 0900 EDT
Registration: N194HC
Aircraft: Robinson R22
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On September 6, 2020, about 0900 eastern daylight time, a Robinson R22 Mariner helicopter, N194HC, was involved in an accident at Page Field (FMY), Fort Myers, Florida. The flight instructor and pilot receiving instruction were not injured. The instructional flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Both pilots submitted written statements, and their versions of events were consistent throughout. The preflight and engine-start procedures were completed by the checklist with no anomalies noted. As the engine was accelerated to near its operating rpm, each pilot heard a loud "bang." The student leaned out his door and announced that "the tail was hanging off the back of the aircraft." The engine was stopped, and the event was reported to the helicopter's owner and his mechanic.

Examination of photographs revealed damage to the tailrotor gearbox, tailrotor blades, and the tailcone's section forward of the tailrotor gearbox. These areas and components were sectioned and forwarded to the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, DC for examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N194HC
Model/Series: R22 MARINER
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: FMY, 16 ft msl
Observation Time:1253 UTC 
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 24°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 50°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:   10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Fort Myers, FL (FMY)
Destination: Fort Myers, FL (FMY)

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: 26.586667, -81.863333 (est)


  1. Lucky it happened on the ground and not on flight,sounds like some seizure and torque to do that ?

    1. ^^Or a a failure of at least one of the rotor blade mount points causing it to droop when the rotor RPM got high enough. Normally this happens (rotor blade striking tail boom) when there is a hard landing on autorotation, simulated or real. I'm not a rotary rated pilot but I do have some dual stick time, so perhaps someone with a helicopter rating here can explain more what can happen to cause this. The fact they felt no vibration issue out of the norm during rotor RPM run-up out before the tail boom was hit is a clue that something failed and failed very fast.

    2. Read info again, main blade did not hit the boom. Sudden seize in the gear box, probably a fragment jammed the gear set.

  2. You can be the best pilot in the world with thousands of safe flights, but when this happens at altitude......