Sunday, July 11, 2021

Robinson R22 Beta, N334DC: Accident occurred July 08, 2019 in Water Valley, Tom Green County, Texas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock, Texas

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Water Valley, Texas 
Accident Number: CEN19LA245
Date & Time: July 8, 2019, 17:30 Local 
Registration: N334DC
Aircraft: Robinson R22 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other 
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Aerial observation


The pilot and passenger of the helicopter were conducting a wildlife survey when the engine and main rotor began to lose rpm. The pilot lowered the collective, rolled the engine throttle control to full power, and attempted to regain the engine and main rotor rpm without success. The pilot conducted a forced landing to an opening in the canopy of vegetation below the helicopter, during which the helicopter rolled over onto its left side, resulting in the separation of the tail boom and substantial damage to the fuselage and main rotor.

An examination of the helicopter and engine revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation; and the reason for the loss of performance could not be determined with the available information.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The loss of helicopter performance for undetermined reasons. 


Aircraft Altitude - Attain/maintain not possible
Not determined (general) - Unknown/Not determined

Factual Information

On July 8, 2019, about 1730 central daylight time, a Robinson R22 II Beta helicopter, N334DC, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Water Valley, Texas. The commercial pilot and passenger were not injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 aerial observation flight.

The pilot and passenger were conducting a wildlife survey. About 1.5 hours into the flight, at an altitude between 50 and 100 ft above the top of the canyon and an airspeed of about 35 mph, the "engine began to bog" and the both the engine and main rotor lost rpm. The pilot stated that he lowered the collective, rolled the engine throttle control to full rpm, and attempted to regain the engine and main rotor rpm. The rpm continued to decay so the pilot elected to conduct a forced landing to an opening in the vegetation below the helicopter.

During the descent into the vegetation the main rotor blades struck the trees. The helicopter rolled over on its left side during the ground impact. The tail boom separated from the fuselage and the main rotor blades and fuselage were substantially damaged.

An examination of the helicopter and engine revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operations prior to the accident. The tail rotor blade fracture signatures were consistent with separation of the blades under power.

History of Flight

Enroute Miscellaneous/other (Defining event)
Enroute Attempted remediation/recovery
Enroute Emergency descent initiated
Landing Roll over

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial 
Age: 27,Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: February 21, 2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: June 10, 2017
Flight Time: (Estimated) 2153 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1700 hours (Total, this make and model), 2000 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 161 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 30 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N334DC
Model/Series: R22 Beta
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2003
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 3511
Landing Gear Type: N/A; Skid 
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: May 2, 2019 100 hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1370 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5810.3 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: O-360 J2A
Registered Owner:
Rated Power: 124 Horsepower
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSJT,1916 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 31 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 22:51 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 161°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 9 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 140°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.88 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C / 23°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Water Valley, TX 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Water Valley, TX 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 16:00 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: 31.834999,-100.686668(est)

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