Saturday, April 24, 2021

Robinson R44 Raven I, N4055N: Fatal accident occurred April 22, 2021 in Forkston, Wyoming County, Pennsylvania

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. 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Allentown, Pennsylvania

Location: Forkston, PA 
Accident Number: ERA21LA191
Date & Time: April 22, 2021, 21:04 Local
Registration: N4055N
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On April 22, 2021, about 2104 eastern daylight time, a Robinson Helicopter R44, N4055N, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Forkston, Pennsylvania. The pilot was fatally injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to preliminary radar track data from the Federal Aviation Administration, the pilot took off from Allentown Queen City Municipal Airport (XLL), Allentown, Pennsylvania about 2010. The helicopter departed from the north end of the airport and proceeded northwest bound, climbing to a cruise altitude between 3,000 and 4,000 ft msl, remaining closer to 3,000 ft msl for most of the flight. Shortly after passing Kasson Brook, Pennsylvania, the helicopter made a slight right turn, then entered a right, descending spiral until track data was lost about 2104. The last recorded location was near the reported accident site location.

The helicopter collided with trees and terrain in a remote, wooded area. A postaccident fire consumed a majority of the wreckage. All major components of the helicopter were accounted for at the accident site. The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Review of weather radar data indicated the helicopter encountered a band of snow showers prior to the descending right turn. Sunset and the end of civil twilight were 1948 and 2017, respectively.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rotorcraft-helicopter rating; however, he did not hold an instrument rating in helicopters and the helicopter was not approved for flight in instrument conditions.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N4055N
Model/Series: R44 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Unknown
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KAVP,962 ft msl
Observation Time: 20:54 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 23 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 4°C /-8°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 14 knots / 20 knots, 290°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 7500 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.93 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Allentown, PA (XLL)
Destination: Towanda, PA (N27)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 41.488991,-76.183937 (est)

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

A Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital doctor was killed when his helicopter crashed in the hills along Windy Valley Road in Forkston Township, Wyoming County, late Thursday evening, April 22.

The Morning Call in Allentown is reporting that Dr. Sanjay Kansara was the pilot and sole occupant of the Robinson R44 model helicopter.

Kansara was commuting from Allentown back to Bradford County at the time of the accident.

Details on what caused the privately-owned helicopter to crash have not been publicly released at this time.

Kansara had earned his pilot’s last year, according to The Morning Call.

Kansara was an anesthesiologist at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had been contacted about the crash and representatives were on their way to the scene Friday morning, April 23.

The crash occurred in the overnight hours, according to PA State Police Master Trooper Deanna Piekanski, who serves as the public information officer for Troop P.

“There was also a fire with it,” she said. “That’s how they were able to get a location of the crash.”

The actual crash site was discovered by responders on Friday morning, said Piekanski.

“The FAA issued an Alert Notice on April 22 to public safety agencies to alert them about the missing aircraft,” Rick Breitenfeldt, public affairs specialist for the FAA. “The flight departed Allentown Queen City Municipal Airport in Allentown and was headed to the Bradford County Airport in Towanda.”

The National Transportation Safety Board will be in charge of the investigation, Breitenfeldt noted.

Resident Joshua Beeman noted that the hilly terrain along Windy Valley Road is “so dense” that it is practically inaccessible unless a person is either walking or using a dirt bike.

Several utility terrain vehicles were brought in for firefighters and emergency personnel to access the crash site.

All emergency responders staged at the pavilion area on Windy Valley Road, which will be the site of this year’s North Branch Kid’s Trout Derby that will be held next month.

Lori Haines, who resides next door to the staging site, said she was sleeping when she was awakened by the sound of a helicopter flying over her home.

“It was very, very loud and then it went away,” she said.

When she and her husband awoke in the morning, they noticed all the emergency personnel next door.

“They had been here a long time,” she said. “I walked down to see if they needed coffee and they said, ‘no’ and they told me what had happened.”

Dispatched to the scene was the F.W.M. Volunteer Fire Company, which sent a fire truck and an ambulance; the Dushore Fire Department, which brought a UTV; the Wyalusing Valley Volunteer Fire Department, which also brought a UTV: the Good Will Fire Company of Laceyville; the PA State Police and its forensic science unit and the PA Game Commission.

The Wyoming County Emergency Management Agency, Wyoming County 911 Center Director Jeff Porter and Wyoming County Coroner Tom Kukuchka also responded to the scene.

 Dr. Sanjay Kansara

The Guthrie Clinic

The Guthrie community is deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of Dr. Sanjay Kansara.

Dr. Kansara joined Guthrie is September, 2020 and was a member of the Robert Packer Hospital anesthesiology team. 

“Dr. Kansara was a devoted anesthesiologist who was committed to providing wonderful care to his patients. He was friendly and had an upbeat, positive demeanor with patients and colleagues,” said Dr. Burdett Porter. 

According to his colleagues, Dr. Kansara had a passion for flying and enjoyed the freedom of being able to fly himself between his home in the Allentown area and Guthrie’s Sayre Campus.  

“We extend our condolences to Dr. Kansara’s family. We will all miss this fine physician and gentleman. This loss will be deeply felt by the Guthrie family,” said Dan Brown, MD, Chair, Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine.

An Upper Saucon Township physician was killed when the helicopter he was piloting crashed in a “desolate” area of northeast Pennsylvania Thursday night, officials said.

Usha Kansara told The Morning Call she learned from state police Thursday that the Robinson R44 helicopter piloted by her husband, Dr. Sanjay Kansara, had crashed in a remote area of Wyoming County while flying from the Queen City Municipal Airport in Allentown to his job at a Bradford County hospital.

Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital confirmed Kansara’s death in statement Friday night, saying it was “deeply saddened by (his) unexpected passing.” Kansara joined Guthrie in September as an anesthesiologist.

“Dr. Kansara was a devoted anesthesiologist who was committed to providing wonderful care to his patients,” Dr. Burdett Porter said in the hospital’s statement. “He was friendly and had an upbeat, positive demeanor with patients and colleagues.”

The Morning Call spoke to Usha Kansara shortly before state police confirmed one person died in the crash. She said her husband had no one with him on the flight.

The wreckage was found Thursday night after the Federal Aviation Administration issued an alert about a missing aircraft. According to television station WBRE, state police said a medical helicopter crew saw a fire on the ground. The Pennsylvania Game Commission responded and found the wreckage.

In a news release, state police at Tunkhannock said the deceased pilot was recovered from the wreckage and parts of the helicopter were removed from the crash scene.

Kansara flew from Bradford County Airport in Towanda to Queen City Airport on Thursday. The helicopter landed around 1:30 p.m., according to Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority spokesman Colin Riccobon.

Usha Kansara said her husband came home once a week and spent the rest of the week in an apartment near the Guthrie hospital.

“The helicopter is new for him,” she said. “He wasn’t that experienced. He just got his license a year ago. But he’s a good pilot, he always took precautions.”

She said he left the house for the Queen City Airport around 7:30 p.m. Thursday to return to Bradford County. He left later than he normally would because he was helping his 14-year-old son with homework. The couple also have a 24-year-old son and 21-year-old daughter.

Riccobon said the helicopter departed Queen City around 8:10 p.m.

Scott Hauser, manager at Bradford County Airport, said he met Sanjay Kansara last summer, shortly after Kansara bought the helicopter.

“He was a friend,” Hauser said, noting they would hang out together and talk about flying. “He was a good guy to have around here. It’s a bummer to say the very least.”

Hauser said air traffic control contacted him about 9:15 p.m. when officials lost contact of Kansara’s rotorcraft. He provided authorities with Kansara’s cellphone number and other information to help with the search, he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board will be in charge of the investigation.

As of Friday night, neither state police nor the Wyoming County coroner’s office had identified Kansara.

According to his Guthrie colleagues, Kansara had a passion for flying and enjoyed the freedom of being able to fly himself.

“We extend our condolences to Dr. Kansara’s family,” said Dr. Dan Brown, chairperson of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine. “We will all miss this fine physician and gentleman. This loss will be deeply felt by the Guthrie family.”

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