Saturday, October 17, 2020

Hard Landing: Bell 47G-5, N7060J; accident occurred October 18, 2019 in King City, Monterey County, California


Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Jose, California

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: King City, CA
Accident Number: GAA20CA034
Date & Time: 10/18/2019, 0742 PDT
Registration: N7060J
Aircraft: Bell 47G
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural 

The helicopter pilot reported that, while conducting an agricultural application flight, he planned to fly over the top of a power pole. He applied full-up collective to climb over the pole, but the helicopter struggled to gain altitude. He added that, after the helicopter cleared the pole, the main rotor speed reduced and the helicopter "quit flying," so he decided to conduct a run-on landing on the field. The helicopter landed hard, and the main rotor blades struck the tailboom. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tailboom. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the helicopter 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 failure to maintain a proper descent rate, which resulted in a hard landing and the main rotor blades striking the tailboom. 


Descent rate - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Tailwind - Effect on equipment

Factual Information

History of Flight

Hard landing (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 65, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/12/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/11/2019
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 25000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 10000 hours (Total, this make and model), 25000 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell
Registration: N7060J
Model/Series: 47G 5
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1970
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 25017
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/02/2019, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2850 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 9836 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: VO-435-B1A
Registered Owner: Wilbur-Ellis Co
Rated Power: 265
Operator: Wilbur-Ellis Co
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural Aircraft (137)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSNS, 74 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 37 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1453 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 319°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  9 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.07 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / 6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: King City, CA
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: King City, CA
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0730 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Mesa Del Rey (KIC)
Runway Surface Type: Dirt
Airport Elevation: 374 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry; Soft
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 36.198056, -121.110278 (est)

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