Friday, May 14, 2021

Loss of Control in Flight: Bell OH-58C Kiowa, N183MP; accident occurred May 14, 2020 in Livingston, Columbia County, New York

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albany, New York

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Air One Mobility Inc

Location: Livingston, New York 
Accident Number: ERA20CA184
Date & Time: May 14, 2020, 03:15 Local
Registration: N183MP
Aircraft: Bell OH-58C
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot of a helicopter reported that while maneuvering at low altitude, about 150 ft above the ground at night, the helicopter struck a tree. Subsequently, the helicopter started spinning to the right, impacted terrain, and rolled onto its left side. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tail-boom and fuselage. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain obstacle clearance while maneuvering at low altitude at night, which resulted in the helicopter striking a tree.


Aircraft Altitude - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Monitoring environment - Pilot
Environmental issues Dark - Contributed to outcome
Environmental issues Tree(s) - Not specified

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-low-alt flying Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)
Maneuvering-low-alt flying Loss of control in flight (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Flight instructor; Private
Age: 64,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land 
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter 
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Helicopter; Instrument helicopter 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: March 14, 2020
Occupational Pilot: Yes 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: July 31, 2018
Flight Time: (Estimated) 4383 hours (Total, all aircraft), 564 hours (Total, this make and model), 4254 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 16 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 7 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell 
Registration: N183MP
Model/Series: OH-58C 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1970 Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental (Special) 
Serial Number: 71-20666
Landing Gear Type: High skid 
Seats: 5
Date/Type of Last Inspection: March 15, 2020 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3200 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Turbo shaft
Airframe Total Time: 4299.6 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Rolls Royce
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: C20C
Registered Owner:
Rated Power: 420 Horsepower
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Night/dark
Observation Facility, Elevation: PSF,1194 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 28 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 07:54 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 56°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.27 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 2°C / -6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Livingston, NY 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Livingston, NY 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 03:15 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 42.168056,-73.812774 (est)

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