Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Robinson R22 Beta, N226WM: Accident occurred August 14, 2021 in West Jordan, Salt Lake County, Utah

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 did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah
Robinson Helicopter Company; Torrance, California 
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Location: West Jordan, Utah
Accident Number: WPR21LA320
Date and Time: August 14, 2021, 10:47 Local 
Registration: N226WM
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

On August 14, 2021, about 1047 mountain daylight time, a Robinson R-22B, N226WM, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near West Jordan, Utah. The flight instructor was seriously injured and the student pilot received minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

According to the student pilot, the accident flight was his second instructional flight towards his rotorcraft rating. They departed about 0800 on the morning of the accident and performed some basic rotorcraft practice maneuvers. The student pilot noted that they received a low rotor rpm indication during this practice, which they were able to override by manually rotating the throttle to add power. After about an hour of practice they landed and serviced the helicopter with fuel. They subsequently departed to a nearby practice area to conduct pinnacle approaches. The student pilot stated that he began to orbit the ridge he selected from about 500 ft above ground level (agl) and then descended to about 300 ft agl. While descending further he advised his instructor of his selected landing site, but when the helicopter reached about 30 ft agl the student pilot heard the low rotor rpm sound and observed the engine power decrease to about 70% power. At this point the instructor took control of the helicopter and applied full power while simultaneously pulling the collective control lever, but was unable to restore power. In its final moments, the left landing skid contacted a rock and the helicopter impacted the ground on the left side. The student pilot stated that he believed the engine continued to run at idle power as the helicopter hit the ground.

The instructor added that the main rotor started to droop during the pinnacle approach when the helicopter was about 15 ft agl, at which time the instructor took control of the helicopter. He lowered the collective and added power with the intention of landing the helicopter, but the student started to push the cyclic forward to build airspeed, which resulted in further rotor droop. The instructor attempted to apply full power, but was unable to arrest the rapid descent before the helicopter impacted the ground. According to the instructor, he had experienced multiple delays in the governor’s performance during the accident flight, which required him to manually advance the throttle.

Postaccident photographs of the helicopter revealed substantial damage to the tail boom. 

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information
Registration: N226WM
Model/Series: R22 BETA 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot school (141)
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KU42,4603 ft msl
Observation Time: 09:55 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C /13°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.24 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: West Jordan, UT (U42)
Destination: West Jordan, UT

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 40.649583,-112.10352 (est)

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