Saturday, July 31, 2021

Collision During Landing: Robinson R44, N350DM; accident occurred July 24, 2020 in White Hall, Maryland

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Baltimore, Maryland 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Whitehall, Maryland
Accident Number: ERA20CA260
Date & Time: July 24, 2020, 18:30 Local
Registration: N350DM
Aircraft: Robinson R44 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Collision during takeoff/land
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Positioning


The pilot of the aerial application helicopter had sprayed hundreds of acres earlier in the day and was positioning the helicopter at another farm site for spraying the following day. He said he selected a landing site next to a grain trailer to remain clear of on-going farm operations. The pilot stated he began his approach at the end of a 7-hour duty day, hovered adjacent to the trailer, and focused his attention on the position of the spray booms as he descended over the landing spot. As he lowered the collective control to complete the landing, the main rotor blades struck the top and side of the grain trailer which resulted in substantial damage to the
helicopter’s main rotor blades and tailboom. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical deficiencies with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation.

In the NTSB Form 6120.1 Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report the pilot offered several safety recommendations to prevent similar accidents from happening in the future. Among them, he suggested a "higher level" of aeronautical decision making, improved fatigue awareness, better obstacle awareness, and maintenance of landing area scan and avoidance of "fixation" on any one item or obstacle.

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 adequate clearance from a known obstacle while landing from a hover.


Personnel issues Identification/recognition - Pilot
Environmental issues Ground equipment - Response/compensation
Personnel issues (general) - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing Collision during takeoff/land (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Flight instructor 
Age: 59, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): 
Helicopter Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): 
Helicopter Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): 
Helicopter Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: December 19, 2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 2298 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1662 hours (Total, this make and model), 2018 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N350DM
Model/Series: R44 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1997
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Restricted (Special)
Serial Number: 0366
Landing Gear Type: N/A; Skid
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: January 9, 2020 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection: 3869 Hrs 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 11 Hrs at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: O-540-F1B5
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 260 Horsepower
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural aircraft (137)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KDMW,789 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 19 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 22:15 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 257°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / 23°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: New Freedom, PA 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Whitehall, MD
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 18:00 Local
Type of Airspace: Class G

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: 39.677223,-76.609443(est)

No comments:

Post a Comment