Saturday, December 05, 2020

Loss of Control in Flight: Robinson R22 Beta, N695AP; Accident occurred December 19, 2019 at Beeville Municipal Airport (KBEA), Bee County, Texas

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Prestige Air Worldwide LLC

Location: Beeville, Texas
Accident Number: CEN20LA037
Date & Time: December 19, 2019, 15:10 Local
Registration: N695AP
Aircraft: Robinson R22 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

Factual Information

On December 19, 2019, about 1510 central standard time, a Robinson R22 helicopter, impacted the ground during takeoff from the Beeville Municipal Airport (BEA), Beeville, Texas. The solo student pilot sustained no injury. The helicopter sustained substantial damage. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Prestige Air Worldwide, LLC, dba Ace High Helos, under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The flight was intended to depart from and remain in the traffic pattern at BEA.

The student pilot successfully conducted a solo flight in the same helicopter the day prior to the accident. The certificated flight instructor reported, that after three takeoffs, three landings, and various in ground effect hover work with the student pilot, the flight instructor felt comfortable with the student pilot to conduct another solo flight. The flight instructor exited the helicopter and positioned himself to watch the solo student pilot. As the flight instructor exited the helicopter, he explained to the solo student pilot that the helicopter was going to "pick up" differently with the absence of the flight instructor's body weight similar to the initial solo flight the day prior, and the solo student pilot "concurred and understood."

The flight instructor observed the helicopter take off from the dry asphalt; however, the flight instructor reported the helicopter was "sliding back and right" as it came up. The right rear skid tube contacted the ground, the solo student pilot did not correct for the ground contact, and the helicopter entered a dynamic rollover sequence. The main rotor blades impacted the ground and the helicopter came to rest on its right side. The solo student pilot executed an emergency shutdown and egressed from the helicopter without further incident.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the main rotor system, the fuselage, the tailboom, and the empennage. The flight instructor reported there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe and engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The flight instructor reported the solo student pilot was taking off from a "solid airport asphalt tarmac" and there were "no known pivot points" for the helicopter to get into a dynamic rollover sequence. The flight instructor reported the wind was from 120° at 8 kts and the helicopter was positioned into the wind before the flight instructor departed the helicopter. The previous flight operations with the flight instructor were performed to runway 12 and the solo student pilot was intending to also utilize runway

Robinson Helicopter Company (RHC) has published Safety Notice SN-9 Many Accidents Involve Dynamic Rollover. This document defines and discusses how to avoid dynamic rollover and states in part:

A dynamic rollover can occur whenever the landing gear contacts a fixed object, forcing the aircraft to pivot about the object instead about its own center of gravy. The fixed object can be any obstacle or surface which prevents the skid from moving sideways. Once started, dynamic rollover cannot be stopped by application of opposite cyclic alone. For example, assume the right skid contacts an object and becomes the pivot point while the helicopter starts rolling to the right. Even with full left cyclic applied, the main rotor thrust vector will still pass on the left side of the pivot point and produce a rolling moment to the right instead of to the left. The thrust vector and its moment will follow the aircraft as it continues rolling to the right. Quickly applying down collective is the most effective way to stop a dynamic rollover.

The flight instructor reported that with one occupant onboard, the Robinson R22 takes off from the ground with the "toes" of the skids first. RHC has published the Flight Training Guide (FTG) which contains detailed training syllabi for initial training, transition/qualification training, and flight reviews for the Robinson R22, the Robinson R44, and the Robinson R66. This document also contains a separate maneuver guide, which includes a purpose, description, and performance standards for various maneuvers. This document discusses the takeoff characteristics for the Robinson R22 with two occupants onboard, with no mention of the takeoff characteristics with one occupant onboard, and states in part:

Since the R22 normally hovers in a nose low attitude with two occupants, the heels of the skids will break ground first.

After a discussion with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge, RHC agreed to incorporate additional information about the Robinson R22 takeoff characteristics with one occupant onboard to the next published edition of the FTG.

Student pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 50,Male
Airplane Rating(s): None 
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: Lap only
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: October 8, 2019
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: December 18, 2019
Flight Time: 30 hours (Total, all aircraft), 25 hours (Total, this make and model), 1 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 30 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 9 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N695AP
Model/Series: R22 Beta 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2004 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 3308
Landing Gear Type: N/A; Skid 
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: November 18, 2019 100 hour 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1370 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2203 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: O-360-J2A
Registered Owner:
Rated Power: 360 Horsepower
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Does Business As: Ace High Helos 
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCRP,44 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 39 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 20:51 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 157°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 3900 ft AGL
Visibility 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 7000 ft AGL 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 12 knots / 17 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 90° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.26 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 7°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Beeville, TX (BEA)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Beeville, TX (BEA) 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 14:30 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Beeville Muni BEA
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 272 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 12 
IFR Approach: None Runway
Length/Width: 4553 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 28.3675,-97.796386(est)


  1. Always sad to see a heli laying on it's side.

  2. Dynamic roll over keeps catching them out !


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