Thursday, August 12, 2021

Robinson R44 Raven II, N4043B: Accident occurred August 11, 2021 near Chicago Executive Airport (KPWK), Wheeling, Cook County, Illinois

National Transportation Safety Board accident number: CEN21LA369 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; DuPage, Illinois

Rotorcraft crashed shortly after departure under unknown circumstances 1/2 mile SE of Chicago Executive Airport (KPWK), Wheeling,  Cook County, Illinois.

Crown Point Helicopter LLC

Date: 11-AUG-21
Time: 11:40:00Z
Regis#: N4043B
Aircraft Make: ROBINSON
Aircraft Model: R44II
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: MINOR
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Operation: 91

 Pilot Ovideau Ostalus

 Pilot Ovideau Ostalus

WHEELING, Illinois  (WLS) -- A helicopter crashed in Prospect Heights near the Chicago Executive Airport Wednesday morning.

The crash occurred on Milwaukee Avenue near Apple Drive south of Palatine Road.

Prospect Heights police said they received a call about the crash at about 6:40 a.m. Police said the pilot and sole occupant remained on the scene as authorities arrived.

"It was very scary to see it over there. I think he did a great job I guess getting in the street and not hurting anyone else. I think it's very lucky all and all," said onlooker Carol Maloney.

The helicopter sitting on its side in the middle of Milwaukee Avenue drew a crowd of onlookers. Most were relieved to learn the pilot was the only one on board and he's survived without major injury.

In fact, Ovideau Ostalus suffered a dislocated shoulder and cuts on his leg, but is otherwise feeling good.

"I have a God up there who was watching over me," Ostalus said. "I'm lucky and pretty good trained as well."

Ostalus got his pilot's license earlier this year. And the Robinson R44 Raven is a brand new 2021 model. Due to storms in the area, he decided to land at Chicago Executive Airport Tuesday night rather than try to land at his company's helipad in Morton Grove.

He checked it Wednesday morning before takeoff and it was fine. But once he was in the air, the engine started revving and then shut down.

"I started looking for a spot, 'cause I was only 300 feet off the ground," Ostalus said.

He found a spot on Milwaukee Avenue, making sure he was clear of any cars on the ground.

"I was looking to make sure people are safe," he explained.

But once on the ground, he said a rotor hit a pole and pushed the chopper onto its side. Crews used a crane to pull it onto a flatbed truck.

"It looked horrific," onlooker James Ledlow said. "You never wanna see a helicopter on its side on the road like that."

Crews brought the helicopter to a hangar at the airport, which was closed for a short time but resumed normal operations later Wednesday morning. The FAA will take a closer look as they investigate what caused the engine to fail.


  1. Another Robinson bites it.
    Low time pilot, brand new helicopter.
    It will be interesting to see the cause on this one.
    Low time pilot. Pilot error seems plausible to me.

  2. I’ve only accumulated 40 hours in R44s, after a long Army career flying Apaches and Blackhawks. R44 I flew was sound, I never had a remote glitch. But like any aircraft, you must follow the factory checklists and preflight to the letter. It’s my guess, some of the Robinson R series crashes have origins to checklists. Airplanes are low on the scale of forgiving our mistakes, helicopters offer very little forgiveness.
    Take it from a guy that’s flown these things for 28 years, 18,000 hours. Follow the checklists, then follow them again.

  3. I might add, his insurance must have been astronomical. Hope he had it, this bird is going to cost a fortune to fix. My last student bought a R44, had 140 hours training in type, 85 additional in R22s. Did the factory program plus Instrument rated in a rented R22. His insurance was still $18000 a year.