Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Robinson R66 Turbine Marine, N577DD: Accident occurred April 03, 2021 at Reigle Airport Field (58N), Palmyra, Lebanon 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; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Location: Palmyra, PA
Accident Number: ERA21LA171
Date & Time: April 3, 2021, 16:30 Local
Registration: N577DD
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On April 3, 2021, about 1630 eastern daylight time, a Robinson R66 helicopter; N577DD, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident in Palmyra, Pennsylvania. The pilot was seriously injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

On the day of the accident, the pilot had picked up the helicopter at Fredrick Municipal Airport (FDK), Fredrick, Maryland where an annual inspection had just been completed on the helicopter. The pilot then flew it to Double D Ranch Heliport (70PA), Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania to pick up a package that he wanted to deliver in the Hershey, Pennsylvania area. He then flew direct to Reigle Field Airport (58N) Palmyra, Pennsylvania.

While enroute he “picked up” up the weather, and upon arriving in the area of 58N, entered the traffic pattern for runway 31. His intended landing point was the grassy area just to the east of runway 31.

According to the pilot, on touchdown, the helicopter was on a slight downhill slope. He felt a dynamic rollover starting, so he pulled up on the collective control stick and his right foot slipped off the right tail rotor control pedal and got stuck behind it. The helicopter then impacted the ground in a left turn from a low hover.
According to a witness, who worked at 58N, during the helicopter’s approach for landing, the helicopter flew towards her office from the runway, closer than the witness had every seen happen at the airport, and it was right next to the picnic table (which was close to the building she was in). She stated that the helicopter was “really wobbly.” Then when it came down, it bounced gently off the ground, flew up rather quickly, and did a tailspin in the other direction away from the office and crashed.

According to another witness, who was riding in a vehicle at the time, he observed the nose of the helicopter go down, then the main rotor hit the ground and the helicopter instantly crash into the ground.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N577DD
Model/Series: R66 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMDT,312 ft msl 
Observation Time: 16:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 12°C /-11°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 300°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 22000 ft AGL 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.25 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Mechanicsburg, PA (70PA)
Destination: Palmyra, PA (58N)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 40.286767,-76.576988 (est)

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