Friday, May 22, 2020

Loss of Control in Flight: Bell 407, N31VA; fatal accident occurred August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia

Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates

Depiction of Accident Site and Debris Field 



The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Washington, DC
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Bell Helicopter; Fort Worth, Texas
Rolls Royce Corporation; Indianapolis, Indiana 
Virginia State Police; Richmond, Virginia 
Genesys Aerosystems; Mineral Wells, Texas 
 
Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N31VA

Location: Charlottesville, VA
Accident Number: ERA17FA274
Date & Time: 08/12/2017, 1649 EDT
Registration: N31VA
Aircraft: BELL 407
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Public Aircraft 

On August 12, 2017, about 1649 eastern daylight time, a Bell 407 helicopter, N31VA, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident in Charlottesville, Virginia. The pilot and the observer were fatally injured. The helicopter was operated as a public aerial observation flight.

According to the Virginia State Police (VSP), the purpose of the flight was to provide the VSP command center with a continuous video downlink of the public demonstrations that were occurring in Charlottesville. The helicopter departed Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO) about 1600. The helicopter arrived over the area of the demonstrations at 1604 and remained there until 1642 when the flight crew was tasked to provide overwatch for the Governor of Virginia's motorcade. At 1643, the flight crew advised the VSP command center that the helicopter was heading directly to the motorcade and was about 30 seconds away.

Radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) indicated that, at 1648, the helicopter was flying at an altitude of about 2,200 ft mean sea level (msl) in the area of the motorcade. At that time, the helicopter was traveling north-northwest before it began to turn to the right and descend rapidly. Radar data indicated that, at 1648:30, the helicopter was descending at a rate of 6,800ft/min through 1,450 ft msl at a groundspeed of 30 knots. The helicopter then descended below the area of radar coverage, and radar contact was lost.

About 1649, a crewmember aboard a Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) helicopter observed the accident helicopter descending upright into trees at a high rate of descent and then observed a "stirring" of debris. The crewmember advised the pilot, who immediately contacted the VSP command center to report that a helicopter had crashed. The pilot of the FCPD helicopter attempted to contact the accident helicopter but was unable to make contact with the flight crew. The FCPD helicopter pilot then landed near the accident site to render aid. The other two crewmembers exited the helicopter and proceeded to the accident site. Upon reaching the accident site, the crewmembers encountered heavy black smoke and fire.

The VSP interviewed 47 witnesses to the accident. Although their descriptions of the helicopter's altitude, direction of flight, and velocity varied, most witnesses reported that the helicopter, after initially hovering, entered a rolling oscillation, began to spin about its vertical axis, and descended in a 45° nose-down attitude while continuing to spin. Witnesses reported that they lost sight of the helicopter below the tops of the surrounding trees and then observed a plume of smoke rising from the area.

Video from a security camera located about 1.2 miles from the accident site captured images of the helicopter in a vertical descent with increasing vertical speed as the helicopter continued to descend toward the ground. Still photographs taken by a witness showed that the helicopter was spinning in a clockwise direction (when viewed from above the helicopter). 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 48, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s):  Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Helicopter; Instrument Airplane; Instrument Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/19/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/15/2016
Flight Time:  5831 hours (Total, all aircraft), 787 hours (Total, this make and model), 5727 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 19 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Other Flight Crew Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 40, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/12/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/21/2016
Flight Time: (Estimated) 97 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot had been employed with the VSP aviation unit since 1999 and became the unit commander in December 2012. The observer had been employed with the VSP aviation unit since July 2017. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:BELL 
Registration: N31VA
Model/Series: 407
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 53465
Landing Gear Type: High Skid;
Seats: 7
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/03/2017, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 5501 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 17 Hours
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time: 6000 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rolls-Royce Corporation
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: 250-C47B
Registered Owner: COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
Rated Power: 650 hp
Operator: Virginia State Police
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

During this mission, the accident helicopter was configured with single main controls at the pilot's station and locked out pedals at the copilot (observer) station.

The accident helicopter's turbine engine had a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system. The engine control unit (ECU) would continuously monitor the FADEC system for faults and would alert the pilot of any faults that could significantly impact engine performance.

The accident helicopter was also equipped with an airspeed-actuated pedal restrictor control system (PRCS), which reduces total left pedal travel at higher airspeeds by automatically adjusting the left pedal's forward stop. When the helicopter accelerates above 55 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS), the PRCS solenoid energizes, engaging a cam that limits forward travel of the left pedal by 25%, which reduces tail rotor blade angle from 25° to 17° When the helicopter decelerates below 50 KIAS, the PRCS solenoid de-energizes, which disengages the cam and enables full forward travel of the left pedal. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: CHO, 644 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1653 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 29°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 190°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.87 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 30°C / 22°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (CHO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (CHO)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1600 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class E 

A sounding (a high-resolution rapid refresh model) for the accident site and time depicted a light and variable wind of 3 knots with clear skies over the accident site. No significant turbulence or wind shear was detected. 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 38.034167, -78.529444 

Accident Site

The main wreckage came to rest in an upright position along a magnetic heading of 333° in heavily wooded terrain that was adjacent to a residence. The main wreckage comprised the main fuselage (cockpit and cabin), aft fuselage, forward section of the tailboom, midsection of the tailboom (including the horizontal stabilizer), main rotor system, and engine. The main wreckage showed damage consistent with impact with trees and the ground. The main fuselage, aft fuselage, main rotor system, and engine were thermally damaged from the postcrash fire. The landing gear exhibited multiple fractures and a flattened appearance.

The aft section of the tailboom, containing the tail rotor gearbox, tail rotor, and vertical stabilizer, was found about 40 ft above the ground in a tree and about 100 to 150 ft south-southwest of the main wreckage. Debris from the fragmented tailboom was found in a debris field that spanned about 300 ft in length west of the main wreckage. Examination of the fragmented tailboom sections revealed multiple angled cuts consistent with main rotor blade contact.

Main Rotor System

The main rotor hub remained attached to the main rotor mast, and the four main rotor blades remained attached to their respective hub locations. For one of the main rotor blades, the pitch horn lug (for the pitch control link upper rod end) was fractured from its pitch horn. The pitch horn lug fracture surface exhibited signatures consistent with overload and thermal damage. Neither the fractured pitch horn lug nor the pitch control link upper rod end were found. The remainder of the major components of the main rotor system were found within or near the main wreckage site and exhibited fragmentation from impact and thermal damage.

The main rotor gearbox remained attached to the airframe. Drive continuity was established within the main rotor gearbox. The engine-to-transmission driveshaft was present, but its aft coupling was fractured.

Tail Rotor and Tail Rotor Drive System

Sections of the tail rotor drive system, from the steel tail rotor drive shaft at the forward end to the tail rotor gearbox input at the aft end, were recovered from the main wreckage, the debris field, and the aft tailboom section. Reconstruction of the tail rotor drive system revealed that most of the components were present except for the No. 3 tail rotor drive shaft, the forward portion of the No. 4 tail rotor drive shaft, and the hanger bearing between the Nos. 3 and 4 tail rotor drive shafts, which were not found. Fractures observed on the Nos. 1, 2, and 4 tail rotor drive shaft tubes were consistent with main rotor blade contact and were co-located with the angled cuts observed on the tailboom.

The tail rotor gearbox remained installed on the tailboom, and drive continuity within the gearbox was established. Residual oil was present within the gearbox, and the magnetic chip detector revealed no evidence of debris. The tail rotor remained installed on the tail rotor gearbox output shaft. Both tail rotor blades remained installed and were intact. One tail rotor blade displayed damage to its tip end, consistent with contacting the left side of the tailboom. The tail rotor blade leading edge also displayed a damaged area about 3 inches wide and about 15.5 inches inboard from the tip. The other tail rotor blade exhibited no anomalous damage.

Engine

The engine was found in the main wreckage lying on its right side near its installed location. All engine mounts had fractured in overload. The engine exhibited impact damage and was bent at an angle of about 30° at the junction of the turbine and gearbox modules. All major components for the engine were found at the main wreckage site.

The oil and pneumatic lines were manually checked and none showed evidence of looseness. The leading edges of the compressor impeller blades exhibited evidence of hard-body foreign object debris ingestion.

The ECU was found in the main wreckage near its installed location with one of its electrical connectors still attached. The ECU exhibited thermal damage due to the postcrash fire.

Flight Controls Systems

The three main rotor actuators were found in the main wreckage near their installed locations and exhibited impact and thermal damage. The main rotor controls, from the cyclic and collective to the swashplate, and the tail rotor controls, from the pedals to the forward section of the tailboom, sustained multiple fractures due to impact forces, and portions were consumed by the postcrash fire. Pieces of the tail rotor control tube from the midsection of the tailboom were recovered in the debris field. The tail rotor control system remained intact within the aft section of the tailboom (which was found in a tree, as previously discussed) except for slight bending of the tail rotor pitch control rods near the rod ends. The recovered main rotor and tail rotor controls showed no evidence of disconnection.

The PRCS remained installed, but its solenoid exhibited impact damage. The PRCS cam was found in the engaged position. The PRCS emergency release cable (which enables manual disengagement of the PRCS pedal stop) was found in the cockpit and was thermally damaged, and the copper wire for the emergency release cable (which prevents the inadvertent disengagement of the PRCS pedal stop and provides an indication for when the emergency release has been pulled) was found unbroken. The plastic pull knob for the emergency release cable was not recovered, and the adjacent cable housing exhibited thermal damage.

A pitot-static test bench was used to functionally test the pedal restrictor control unit (a PRCS component). The unit responded normally in activating and extinguishing the PRCS engagement and solenoid activation lights when pitot-static pressure (to simulate airspeed) was increased and decreased, respectively. The solenoid functioned normally when power was applied to it. Functionality of the emergency release cable was confirmed.

Avian Material Examination

During the investigation, no evidence was observed to suggest that the accident was the result of a mid-air collision involving another aircraft, or object, and examination of samples taken from the main rotor, nose, windscreen, and cockpit areas were examined for microscopic avian material. No bird remains were found in any of the samples. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Virginia Department of Health, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Richmond, Virginia, performed autopsies of the pilot and the observer. The pilot's cause of death was blunt force injury to the head, torso and extremities, and the observer's cause of death was blunt force injuries to the head and torso. The autopsy also identified the pilot's moderate coronary artery disease with a 60% stenosis of the left anterior descending coronary artery. The remainder of the heart examination was unremarkable.

Toxicology testing at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory were negative for the pilot for carbon monoxide, ethanol, and all drugs tested. The testing for the observer detected naproxen in his urine samples. Naproxen is a non-narcotic analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent that is available over the counter and as a prescription. Carbon monoxide and ethanol were not detected in the observer's specimens.

Tests And Research

Performance Study

The performance study for the accident flight was conducted using three data sources: 1) data recovered from the ECU; 2) radar data from airport surveillance radar (ASR)-9, which was located about 3 nautical miles north of CHO; and 3) automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B) system data.

ASR-9 radar data showed that the helicopter left the downtown Charlottesville area about 1644:00 and flew to the southwest and then to the north. The terrain below the helicopter had an elevation from 300 to 600 ft. The helicopter's maximum groundspeed was above 100 knots early in the flight and then varied from 5 to 80 knots during the rest of the flight.

ADS-B data toward the end of the flight indicated that the helicopter was climbing and that its calculated forward airspeed was slowing until 1646:00, when the helicopter leveled off at 1,950 ft for about 1 minute. The helicopter then began climbing again, reaching an altitude of 2,250 ft, and its forward airspeed slowed from 30 to about 20 knots. At 1648:06, the helicopter's forward airspeed increased to 30 knots. Four seconds later, the helicopter climbed from 2,225 to 2,275 ft, and its forward airspeed slowed to about 10 knots. The helicopter's descent began at 1648:18.

The nonvolatile memory from the ECU was successfully downloaded. About 20 seconds of parametric data, which included rotor speed, torque, collective position, gas generator speed, and absolute ambient pressure, were recorded at the end of flight. The ECU data revealed an increase in torque, from 54% to 104%, immediately before the helicopter's descent. The ECU data also indicated that, between 1648:18 and 1648:20, the collective position decreased from 40% to 14% and that, during the next second, the collective position increased to about 30%. Even as the collective continued to increase to a peak of 68% by 1648:31, the helicopter's altitude decreased, indicating that the helicopter did not respond to the increase in collective.

A video study determined the motion of the helicopter based on the security camera video, which captured about 10 seconds of the helicopter's descent but not the beginning of the descent, and a sequence of four still photographs, which were taken during a 2-second period. The video study indicated that, according to the security camera video, the helicopter was descending with an estimated vertical acceleration of 12 ± 1.5 ft/s2. The photographs indicated that the estimated yaw rate of the helicopter about 20 seconds before impact was at least 92° ± 5° per second in the clockwise direction. The helicopter had already started descending at the time that this estimated yaw rate occurred. The helicopter tail structure appeared undamaged in the photographs.

After 1648:16, the helicopter's low forward speed while descending put it in or near a region conducive to a vortex ring state, which is an aerodynamic condition that occurs when the helicopter descends at the downward speed of its own vortex wake. The vortex system accumulates, building in strength and producing increased downwash through the main rotor. The rotor, operating in a high downwash field, is unable to arrest the helicopter's descent rate, even with increased collective. Even though the collective was raised after 1648:20, the helicopter's altitude did not increase. The security camera video and the photographs of the descent, which were determined to be after 1648:22, showed that the helicopter rolled to the left, between 30-57 degrees, as it was spinning to the right.

Pedal Restrictor Control System Calculations

To determine the effect on tail rotor authority if the PRCS were to remain engaged below 50 KIAS, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) requested that Bell perform calculations to determine the left pedal control margin that would be available for different airspeed conditions with the PRCS cam engaged. The calculations used conditions similar to those on the day of the accident: a gross helicopter weight of 4,633 pounds, an ambient temperature of 86°F (30°C), and a pressure altitude of 2,200 ft.

Bell determined that the left pedal margin would increase with increasing airspeeds and that a hover out of ground effect (OGE) would be the most critical condition for restricted left pedal authority. The calculated tail rotor blade collective pitch angle that would be needed to maintain heading while hovering OGE was between 10° and 11°. If the PRCS were to remain engaged during a hover, a tail rotor blade collective pitch angle of 17° could be achieved with full left pedal travel restricted by the PRCS. Without the PRCS engaged, a tail rotor blade collective pitch angle of about 25° +/- 0.5 could be achieved with the left pedal at its unrestricted full forward position.

Additional Information

Vortex Ring State

According to the FAA's Helicopter Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-21B), a vortex ring state "describes an aerodynamic condition in which a helicopter may be in a vertical descent with 20 percent up to maximum power applied, and little or no climb performance." The handbook also states the following:

A fully developed vortex ring state is characterized by an unstable condition in which a helicopter experiences uncommanded pitch and roll oscillations, has little or no collective authority, and achieves a descent rate that may approach 6,000 feet per minute (fpm) if allowed to develop….

Situations that are conducive to a vortex ring state condition are attempting to hover OGE without maintaining precise altitude control, and approaches, especially steep approaches, with a tailwind component.

When recovering from a vortex ring state condition, the pilot tends first to try to stop the descent by increasing collective pitch. The traditional recovery is accomplished by increasing airspeed, and/or partially lowering collective to exit the vortex. In most helicopters, lateral cyclic thrust combined with an increase in power and lateral antitorque thrust will produce the quickest exit from the hazard.

Vortex Ring State Training

According to the FAA's Helicopter Instructor's Handbook (FAA-H-8083-4), vortex ring state (also known as settling with power) can safely be introduced and practiced at altitudes allowing distance to recover. The handbook also states the following:

Ensure the student understands that settling with power can occur as a result of attempting to descend at an excessively low airspeed in a downwind condition, or by attempting to hover OGE at a weight and density altitude greater than the helicopter's performance allows….

Recovery is accomplished by…if altitude allows, reducing collective and lowering the nose to increase forward speed. This moves a helicopter out of its downwash and into translational lift. When the helicopter is clear of the disturbed air, or downwash, confirm a forward speed indication and initiate a climb to regain the lost altitude.

Virginia State Police Aviation Unit Training Manual

The VSP aviation unit training manual required that its unit instructors refer to the current Federal Aviation Regulations and the FAA's practical test standards for standardization. Review of the practical test standards for rotorcraft revealed a required task for settling with power (vortex ring state) for which pilots were to (1) exhibit knowledge of the elements related to settling with power, (2) promptly recognize the onset of settling with power, and (3) use the appropriate recovery procedure.

Review of the VSP aviation unit training manual revealed that vortex ring state was not listed in any of the sample lesson plans for initial or recurrent training and that the associated maneuvers were considered to be optional. Anecdotal information indicated that the pilot had knowledge of vortex ring state, but review of the accident pilot's training records from 2001 to the accident found no record of him receiving settling with power or vortex ring state recognition and recovery training on the accident helicopter make and model.

AĆ©rospatiale SA-341F Gazelle , N9334W: Accident occurred April 9, 2020 in Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida

Ross Transportation Inc

https://registry.faa.gov/N9334W

NTSB Identification: ERA20CA181
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, April 9, 2020 in Fort Myers, FL
Aircraft: AEROSPATIALE SA341, registration: N9334W

NTSB investigators will use data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator, and will not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Stolp SA-300 Starduster Too, N1YW: Incident occurred May 20, 2020 at Mesquite Metro Airport (KHQZ), Dallas County, Texas

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; North Texas

Aircraft on landing, veered off runway and hit a runway light.

https://registry.faa.gov/N1YW

Date: 20-MAY-20
Time: 18:00:00Z
Regis#: N1YW
Aircraft Make: STARDUSTER
Aircraft Model: SA300
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: MESQUITE
State: TEXAS

Cessna R172K Hawk XP, N612R: Accident ccurred May 20, 2020 near Surfside Seaplane Base (8Y4), Lino Lakes, Anoka County, Minnesota

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Minneapolis, Minnesota

Darb Inc

https://registry.faa.gov/N612R

NTSB Identification: CEN20CA188
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, May 20, 2020 in Lino Lakes, MN
Aircraft: Cessna R172, registration: N612R

NTSB investigators will use data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator, and will not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Aircraft flipped over in the lake on departure.

Date: 20-MAY-20
Time: 14:40:00Z
Regis#: N612R
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 172
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 91
City: LINO LAKES
State: MINNESOTA





LINO LAKES, Minnesota — Two people are unharmed after their float equipped plane crashed on Rice Lake Wednesday morning.

According to the Lino Lake Police Department, a crew responded to the crash at about 9:45 a.m. on the 6900 block of Lake Drive. Two men who had been on the plane were uninjured, and had already gotten out.

Aerial footage from SKY 11 shows the Cessna R172K Hawk XP plane flipped over in the water.

The crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration, Anoka County Sheriff's Department and Lino Lakes Public Safety Department.

https://www.kare11.com

Bell OH-58A-BF Kiowa, N153SA: Accident occurred May 20, 2020 in West Branch, Ogemaw County, Michigan

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

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 


https://registry.faa.gov/N153SA


Location: West Branch, MI
Accident Number: CEN20LA187
Date & Time: 05/20/2020, 0933 EDT
Registration: N153SA
Aircraft: Bell OH-58A
Injuries:1 None 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 20, 2020, about 0933 eastern daylight time (edt), a Bell OH-58A, N153SA, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near West Bank, Michigan. The pilot was not injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) personal flight.

The pilot reported that he and his passenger departed the pilot's private airstrip for a local flight to observe recent flood damage in the area. As they were en route to the area, the pilot felt an airframe vibration and decided to make a precautionary autorotation in a field. He did not observe any caution or warning lights, or horns associated with the vibration. The pilot reported that after clearing some trees, he heard the low rotor RPM horn come on. He reduced collective and made a hard-run-on landing. The helicopter slid about 20-25 ft on its main skids, coming the rest upright. Main rotor impacted tail boom and severed the tail rotor drive shaft.

The helicopter was moved to a secure storage facility where it will later be examined.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:Bell 
Registration:N153SA 
Model/Series:OH-58A 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built:No 
Operator:On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held:None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: Y31, 882 ft msl
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: None
Departure Point: West Branch, MI (Y31)
Destination: West Branch, MI (Y31)

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:

Mooney M20C Ranger, N5842Q: Incident occurred May 20, 2020 at Red Bluff Municipal Airport (KRBL), Tehama County, California

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Sacramento, California

Aircraft gear collapsed on landing.

https://registry.faa.gov/N5842Q

Date: 20-MAY-20
Time: 22:40:00Z
Regis#: N5842Q
Aircraft Make: MOONEY
Aircraft Model: M20C
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: RED BLUFF
State: CALIFORNIA

Cessna 172S Skyhawk, N91PF: Incident occurred May 19, 2020 at Page Field Airport (KFMY), Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida

Aircraft sustained propeller strike on landing.

https://registry.faa.gov/N91PF

Date: 19-MAY-20
Time: 12:00:00Z
Regis#: N91PF
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 172
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: FORT MYERS
State: FLORIDA

Bellanca 8KCAB Decathlon CS, N68555: Accident occurred May 21, 2020 in Rainbow City, Etowah County, Alabama

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;  Vestavia Hills, Alabama

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

https://registry.faa.gov/N68555

Location: Rainbow City, AL
Accident Number: ERA20LA194
Date & Time: 05/21/2020, 1912 CDT
Registration: N68555
Aircraft: BELLANCA 8KCAB
Injuries:1 None 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 21, 2020, about 1912 central daylight time, a Bellanca 8KCAB, N68555, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Rainbow City, Alabama. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot, he was practicing aerobatic maneuvers and when finished, he headed back to the departure airport. During the flight back to the airport the engine started to "cut off and on". Although the engine continued to run, it got worse and the pilot made the decision to make an emergency landing in a field. After touch-down the pilot was unable to stop the airplane in time to avoid an approaching tree line. The airplane impacted trees and came to a stop. The engine was still running after the impact, and the landing gear and both wings were buckled.

The wreckage was examined at the accident site by a Federal Aviation Inspector. Both fuel tanks were breached and absent of fuel. The airplane was recovered from the accident site for an engine test run attempt. Prior to the test run all fuel lines leading to the fuel pumps and fuel servo were examined. All of the fuel lines contained trace amounts of fuel and no debris was observed within them. The mechanical and electrical fuel pumps were checked and no anomalies were noted. An external fuel tank was plumbed to the mechanical pump for the test run. The fuel-injected engine was started and run for 2 to 3 minutes at various rpms; and no anomalies were noted.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:BELLANCA 
Registration: N68555
Model/Series:8KCAB 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator:On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: GAD, 569 ft msl
Observation Time: 1900 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Gadsden, AL (GAD)
Destination: Gadsden, AL (GAD)

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: 33.882222, -86.072778 (est)

RAINBOW CITY, Alabama (WBMA) — According to Chief John Bryant, a plane crashed in Rainbow City near Riddles Bend road after the pilot told authorities the engine started to stutter.

Authorities said the crash happened on the evening of Thursday, May 21st, as the pilot tried to make it to a landing strip in St. Clair County, but could not because the engine stalled.

The only damage reported was to the wings of the plane.

Chief Bryant said the pilot was the only passenger on the plane and is "okay". Bryant also added the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.

According to a statement made by the Federal Aviation Administration, it said the plane was a Bellanca 8KCAB Decathlon CS. The FAA also added the plane collided with trees after landing in a field.

https://abc3340.com

Cessna 172RG, N5546R: Incident occurred May 21, 2020 at Lawrence Municipal Airport (KLWM), Essex County, Massachusetts

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Boston, Massachusetts

Aircraft landing gear collapsed upon landing.

https://registry.faa.gov/N5546R

Date: 21-MAY-20
Time: 20:20:00Z
Regis#: N5546R
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 172
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: LAWRENCE
State: MASSACHUSETTS

Cessna TR182 Turbo Skylane RG, N4761T: Incident occurred May 21, 2020 at Hayward Executive Airport (KHWD), Alameda County, California

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Oakland, California

Aircraft landing gear collapsed upon landing.

https://registry.faa.gov/N4761T

Date: 22-MAY-20
Time: 00:15:00Z
Regis#: N4761T
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 172
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: HAYWARD
State: CALIFORNIA

Progressive Aerodyne SeaRey: Incident occurred May 21, 2020 in Tavares, Lake County, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida

Aircraft porpoised on landing in lake.

Date: 21-MAY-20
Time: 20:44:00Z
Aircraft Make: PROGRESSIVE AERODYNE
Aircraft Model: SEAREY
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: TAVARES
State: FLORIDA

Piper PA-31-325 Navajo, N300CN: Incident occurred May 20, 2020 at San Luis County Regional Airport (KSBP), California

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

Aircraft landed gear up and encountered a propeller strike.

Blue Frog Charter Inc

https://registry.faa.gov/N300CN

Date: 21-MAY-20
Time: 00:20:00Z
Regis#: N300CN
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA31
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: SAN LUIS OBISPO
State: CALIFORNIA

Bell UH-1H Iroquois, N301HP: Incident occurred May 20, 2020 in Clarkston, Asotin County, Washington

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Spokane, Washington

Rotorcraft struck a parked vehicle with tail rotor.

https://registry.faa.gov/N301HP

Date: 20-MAY-20
Time: 00:30:00Z
Regis#: N301HP
Aircraft Make: BELL
Aircraft Model: UH1H
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: MANEUVERING (MNV)
Operation: 91
City: CLARKSTON
State: WASHINGTON

Van's RV-10 N14FV: Incident occurred May 21, 2020 near Monroe County Aeroplex Airport (KMVC), Monroe County, Alabama

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Alabama and NW Florida  

Aircraft made emergency landing on highway after fuel problems.  

9G Enterprises LLC

https://registry.faa.gov/N14FV

Date: 21-MAY-20
Time: 16:43:00Z
Regis#: N14FV
Aircraft Make: VAN
Aircraft Model: RV10
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: NONE
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EMERGENCY DESCENT (EMG)
Operation: 91
City: MONROEVILLE
State: ALABAMA

MONROEVILLE, Alabama (WKRG) – A small plane made an emergency landing on Highway 21 in Monroeville Thursday.

The Federal Aviation Administration says a single-engine Vans RV-10 landed safely on the highway at 11:45 a.m. The pilot was the only person onboard and was not injured, according to local officials.

Dustin Feaster sent us a video of the plane taking up one of the lanes.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the incident.

Monroe County Aeroplex is located near where the plane landed.

Federal Aviation Administration Statement:  A single-engine Vans RV-10 landed safely on Highway 21 in Monroeville, Alabama, at 11:45 a.m. CDT today. The pilot was the only person aboard; local officials reported that he was not injured. The FAA will investigate the incident.

https://www.wkrg.com

Cirrus Aircraft, N883PJ: Fatal accident occurred May 20, 2020 in Santa Maria, California

2 months ago
"Today is a BIG Day for General Aviation! I flew my first solo flight. Even the 883 Papa Juliet has a mask on."

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California
Cirrus Aircraft; Duluth, Minnesota
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

https://registry.faa.gov/N883PJ

Location: Santa Maria, CA
Accident Number: WPR20LA152
Date & Time: 05/20/2020, 1043 PDT
Registration: N883PJ
Aircraft: Cirrus SR20
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 20, 2020, about 1043 Pacific daylight time, a Cirrus SR20 airplane, N883PJ, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Santa Maria, California. The student pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 solo cross country flight.

There were several witnesses who observed the airplane prior to the accident. A witness reported that the airplane was flying lower than normal. He observed the airplane oscillate, followed by an engine power increased and then the airplane straightened out. Shortly thereafter, the power decreased, and it started to oscillate as it went out of view. Another witness observed the airplane with it's wings perpendicular to the ground as it descended out of view. And a third witness said his attention was drawn to the airplane when he heard a "loud hissing sound," which sounded like a "large bottle rocket." He looked up and saw the airplane abruptly turn left and descend like a corkscrew.

The student pilot's flight instructor reported that he has been in flight training since September 2019, and had accumulated about 50 flight hours. The accident flight was the student pilot's third solo flight, and second cross country. They had flown the same route as the accident flight at least twice together, and the student pilot flew it once on his own about one week prior to the accident.

The airplane has been recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cirrus
Registration: N883PJ
Model/Series: SR20 No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: SMX, 261 ft msl
Observation Time: 1051 PDT
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 9°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / 15 knots, 290°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.12 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: Van Nuys, CA (VNY)
Destination: Santa Maria, CA (SMX)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 34.893056, -120.454722 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov. 

Dr. Tigran Garabedyan
June 27, 1981 – May 20, 2020
~
6 months ago
"More practice! Gotta get it VFR to Van Nuys. 883 Papa Juliet, Cirrus Aircraft" 

4 months ago 
"883 PapaJuliet back in action, soaring above the fluffy clouds!"


5 months ago
"Night flying cross country to Riverside and back. Encore Flight Academy"

7 months ago
"This is starting to get a bit technical ... climbs, descends, stall maneuvers, ground reference maneuvers. Really fun though!"

8 months ago
"Here we go first flight, Encore Flight Academy, 2 takeoffs 2 landings, beat one way to beat the 101 traffic."























ORCUTT, California  - The NewsChannel has confirmed through Federal Aviation Administration records that Tigran Garabedyan, who died in a plane crash Wednesday morning, was certified as a student-pilot on November 7th, 2019.

The 38-year old from Burbank took off from Van Nuys Airport around 9:45 Wednesday morning and flew about 133 miles to the Santa Maria area before crashing near the playground at Ralph Dunlap Elementary School in Orcutt about 10:45 a.m.

No children were present as the campus is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stay at home order.

Federal Aviation Administration records also indicate Garabedyan's student-pilot certification prohibited him from carrying any passengers. Authorities confirmed he was the only person onboard the Cirrus Aircraft when it crashed.

Social media postings made by Garabedyan show the Cirrus Aircraft parked at Van Nuys airport. In one of the last postings made just two months ago, Garabedyan wrote, "Today is a BIG Day for General Aviation! I flew my first solo flight. Even the 883PapaJuliet has a mask on."

Federal Aviation Administration records also indicate the Cirrus Aircraft Garabedyan was flying is registered to a company called West by Southwest Investments LLC in Newport Beach. The NewsChannel has not been able to confirm Garabedyan's connection to that company.

The Cirrus Aircraft is a technologically advanced airplane. It comes equipped with a built-in Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) which is designed to deploy during an emergency and avoid a fatal crash. The parachute is manually released by the pilot and must be deployed within the certified speed and altitude parameters.

Video of Wednesday's crash appeared to show Garabedyan tried to deploy the parachute. The parachute can be seen in the video trailing behind the plane as it nose dived onto the school playground and exploded. Photos of the crash site also show yellow straps wrapped around the tail section and a parachute on the ground near where the plane made impact.

Garabedyan was married with two young children. 

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.

https://keyt.com