Sunday, May 23, 2021

Hard Landing: Schweizer 269C, N269P; accident occurred May 24, 2019 at Riverside Municipal Airport (KRAL), California

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Riverside, California 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Ingoma Aero Inc

Location: Riverside, California 
Accident Number: GAA19CA284
Date & Time: May 24, 2019, 13:45 Local
Registration: N269P
Aircraft: Schweizer 269C
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional


The day of the accident, the student pilot had flown three takeoffs and landings in the pattern with the instructor. After the third landing, the instructor exited the helicopter and authorized the student to perform her third flight solo. The student accomplished the before takeoff checks and increased the throttle, and as she increased the collective pitch, she felt an "abnormal vibration," but she decided to continue with the flight. She increased the collective and applied left pedal, and the helicopter ascended, but the nose yawed rapidly left. The student noted that the engine rpm had increased, and she lowered the collective. The left skid contacted the ground hard, followed by the right skid, and the student then decreased power, shut down the engine, and exited the helicopter. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the aft skid tube cross-member. The student reported that several mechanical malfunctions existed with the helicopter during previous flights. Although examination of the helicopter and the operator's maintenance logbooks revealed that there were maintenance deficiencies that were incorrectly annotated, postaccident examination revealed no evidence of any preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation. After the accident, the operator implemented a policy to document and clear all future maintenance discrepancies associated with helicopters in their fleet.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The student pilot's failure to maintain yaw control and the engine's rpm during transition to a hover, which resulted in hard landing.


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Student/instructed pilot
Aircraft Powerplant parameters - Not attained/maintained
Aircraft Yaw control - Not attained/maintained
Organizational issues Adequacy of policy/proc - Operator

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-hover Unknown or undetermined
Landing Hard landing (Defining event)

Student pilot Information

Certificate: Student 
Age: 57, Female
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
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: August 2, 2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 69 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 15 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 4 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Schweizer
Registration: N269P
Model/Series: 269C Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1988
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: S1328
Landing Gear Type: Skid 
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: February 1, 2019 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2050 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2109.7 Hrs at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Not installed 
Engine Model/Series: HIO-360-D1A
Registered Owner:
Rated Power: 190 Horsepower
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand air taxi (135)
Operator Does Business As: WESTERN HELICOPTERS, INC.
Operator Designator Code: WO5A

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Dusk
Observation Facility, Elevation: KRAL,804 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 20:53 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 89°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 10000 ft AGL 
Visibility: 7 miles
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 29.89 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Riverside, CA (RAL)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Riverside, CA (RAL)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 12:45 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Riverside Muni RAL
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 818 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: H1 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 60 ft / 60 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: 33.951946,-117.444999(est)

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