Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Robinson R44 Raven II, N44BJ: Fatal accident occurred July 19, 2021 in Elgin, Wabasha County, Minnesota

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 traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Minneapolis, Minnesota
Lycoming Engines; Milliken, Colorado 

Location: Elgin, MN 
Accident Number: CEN21FA330
Date & Time: July 19, 2021, 15:30 Local 
Registration: N44BJ
Aircraft: Robinson R44
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural

On July 19, 2021, about 1530 central daylight time, a Robinson R44 II helicopter, N44BJ, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Elgin, Minnesota. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial-application flight.

A witness observed the helicopter flying east-and-west aerial-application passes over a corn field, with each additional pass progressing closer toward the north end of the field being sprayed. The witness observed the helicopter fly over the power lines that crossed the corn field during two consecutive passes, but on the third pass the helicopter flew under the power lines while heading westbound. The witness had entered a nearby pole barn when he heard a loud boom, and the pole barn shook momentarily. He then exited the pole barn and saw smoke rising from where the helicopter had crashed in the corn field. The witness and his father then responded to the accident site where they observed the helicopter engulfed in flames.

The initial impact was with a three-phase power transmission line. The western line remained intact, the center line exhibited fraying, and the eastern line was severed (Photo 1 and 2). The power lines consisted of three (477ACSR type) 24 aluminum conducting strands over 7 steel strands. The GPS altitude at the surface below the power lines was 1,080 ft. The frayed power line at the point of damage
was about 28 ft above the ground. The corn crop under the power lines was 8-10 ft tall. Portions of the swashplate yoke, a blade droop tusk, pilot’s headset, sunglasses and ballcap, and plexiglass fragments were located under and immediately east of the power lines.

The wreckage debris path measured 292 ft between the power lines and the main wreckage. The wreckage debris path through the corn crop was on a 90° heading. The helicopter impacted terrain in a 15° descent angle, as evidenced by the damaged corn crop. Fractured portions of the spray booms, cabin door, and plexiglass were scattered along the wreckage debris path.

The main wreckage included remnants of the cabin, landing skids, cockpit, engine, main rotor transmission, main rotor head, main rotor blades, aft fuselage, sheaves, tail rotor drive shaft, tail boom, tail rotor gear box, and tail rotor blades (Photo 3). The relatively intact product tank and its support frame was located about 15 ft north of the main wreckage. Most of the cabin and cockpit were destroyed by the postimpact fire. Flight control continuity could not be established due to extensive damage sustained during impact and postimpact fire. The postaccident examination did not reveal any evidence of a mechanical malfunction of the helicopter or its engine that would have precluded normal flight.

The outboard 3 ft of one main rotor blade was not located during the investigation. The blade fracture exhibited damage consistent with impact with a power line (Photo 4). The other main rotor blade remained intact but folded in half.

The height of the corn under the power lines measured 8-10 ft. The operator stated that the helicopter is typically flown 10 ft above the crop to ensure optimal spray disbursement. According to the Robinson R44 II Pilot Operating Handbook (POH), the helicopter was 10.75 ft tall. The frayed power line at the point of damage was about 28 ft above the ground.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson 
Registration: N44BJ
Model/Series: R44 II
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural aircraft (137)
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: RST,1304 ft msl
Observation Time: 15:54 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 17 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C /17°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 4800 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 280°
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.2 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Elgin, MN 
Destination: Elgin, MN

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 44.108056,-92.204167 

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov. You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.

Corey James Adcock

VICTORIA — Corey James Adcock, 40, passed away July 19, 2021 in Minnesota. Corey was born April 29, 1981 in Victoria to Helen Rose Charbula and James Patrick Adcock.

Corey graduated from Stroman High School, Class of 1999. He went on to receive his Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice from UHV in 2009, cum laude. Corey then received his rotary wing license followed by his fixed wing license in pursuit of his passion for flying. He was honored to be a life flight pilot.

Corey was a proud father and family man all around. He touched so many lives whether it be through kindness, laughter, or playful and often times entertaining antics. Believe you me, if you knew Corey you knew this was true. There was never a dull moment when he was around. Corey was a creative soul who could conquer anything he put his mind to. He had the biggest heart and a great love for popcorn, music, and flying.

Corey is survived by his parents, son, Caden James Adcock; daughter, Emry Reese Adcock; brother, Justin Adcock (fiance’, Alana Barfield) of Fannin; sister, Megan Groll (Matthew) of Victoria and the mother of his children, Jennifer Martinez Adcock of Victoria. He is preceded in death by his grandparents, Joseph and Winnie Charbula and Raymond Adcock and Georgia Adcock Daws.

Visitation for family and friends will be Sunday, July 25, 2021 from 4-6 PM at Rosewood Funeral Chapel followed by a rosary to be recited at 6 PM.

Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday, July 26, 2021 at 10 am at St. Mary’s Catholic Church with burial to immediately follow at Memorial Park Cemetery.

Pallbearers are Michael Charbula, Nicky Calcote, Duane Pilat, Nolan Proff, John Morris, Matthew Bernhard, Phillip Bernhard, and Brian DeWees.

Honorary pallbearers are Anthony Arnold, Tres Van Dusen, Carlos Luna, Damian Fanelli, John Buzzell, Chris Tellez, Taylor Johnson, Robert Serrata, Jason Smith, Ricky Cruz, Casey Zamzow, Matt Groll, Michael Martinez, Ryan Ashcroft, Buddy Olsen and Austin Boscamp.

Memorial donations may be made to Dorothy O’Connor Pet Adoption Center.

We love you, Corey. Nothing but blue skies from here on out.

Words of comfort may be shared at www.rosewoodfuneralchapel.com.

ELGIN, Minnesota (KTTC) -- 10:15 P.M. UPDATE: The Wabasha County Sheriff's Office has identified the deceased pilot in a crop-dusting helicopter crash near Elgin. Corey James Adcock, 40, from Victoria County Texas was flying the chopper. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Witnesses say the aircraft had been in the area most of the day, spraying crops, when the chopper blades got caught up in some power lines, causing the helicopter to crash and start on fire. According to Wabasha County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Jim Warren it happened at 3:50 p.m.

According to Wabasha County authorities, accidents like this are incredibly rare.

"2nd one in 23 years, I'm just glad it hadn't happened more often," said Chief Deputy Jim Warren of Wabasha County.

Though his name has not yet been disclosed, police say the pilot is from Texas. Authorities are still investigating what caused the helicopter to crash.

The crash happened on 75th street, just south of Elgin.

"Some accidents you would think would happen more often because of the dangerousness of the job, but you know these pilots are very skilled, and these accidents are still gonna happen no matter how skilled of a pilot you're gonna be," said Warren.

In spite of the power lines being down, authorities say very few in the area lost power.

"We did some door checks, and they had power still, so that told us we still had two live lines on the ground. But we did get one report of an outage in Plainview and it was from an off-duty deputy," said Warren.

One farmer in the area claimed he did not see the crash happen, but he heard it. By the time he got to the scene, the helicopter was already engulfed in flames.

Multiple agencies are working to figure out the cause.

"The NTSB and the FAA, they're coming out," said Warren.

No comments:

Post a Comment