Sunday, January 31, 2021

Low Altitude Operation/Event: Robinson R22, N797SH; accident occurred June 16, 2020 in El Campo, Wharton 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 Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: El Campo, TX
Accident Number: CEN20CA230
Date & Time: 06/16/2020, 1200 CDT
Registration: N797SH
Aircraft: Robinson R22
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Low altitude operation/event
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Aerial Application 

According to the pilot, he was flying low-level about 20 mph, pollinating a rice field. He reported that he misjudged his operating altitude, and a part of the helicopter caught the rice vegetation. The helicopter entered an uncontrollable spin and impacted the rice field. The pilot reported that he was unharmed, but the helicopter was "totally destroyed". He added that the helicopter was operating normally, and the accident was due to "pilot error" in misjudging his altitude. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Private
Age: 28
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied:
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 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/10/2019
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/02/2020
Flight Time:   312 hours (Total, all aircraft), 82.1 hours (Total, this make and model), 237.6 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 23.4 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2.3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N797SH
Model/Series: R22 BETA
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2004
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 3732
Landing Gear Type: Ski;
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/11/2020, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1369 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: O-360 SERIES
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 145 hp
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:
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time:
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts:
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: El Campo, TX
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: El Campo, TX
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  CDT
Type of Airspace:

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:
29.190556, -96.249167 (est)

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