Monday, August 09, 2021

RotorWay Exec 162F, N162KJ: Fatal accident occurred August 07, 2021 near Argyle Airport (1C3), Washington County, New York

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 Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albany, New York 

Craig E. Seeley

Location: Argyle, NY 
Accident Number: ERA21FA317
Date & Time: August 7, 2021, 18:00 Local 
Registration: N162KJ
Aircraft: Rotorway Exec 162F
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Posted on Kathryn's Report
On August 7, 2021, at 1810 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Rotorway Exec 162F, N162KJ, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident in Argyle, New York. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

A witness located about ½-mile north of the accident site observed the helicopter flying southbound at an estimated altitude of 50-75 ft above the ground. He stated that he believed the helicopter was “having issues, as (it) could not stay up in the air, it was almost like it was bouncing.” Just after the helicopter flew over a tree line, he heard a “loud sound” and “watched the [rotor] just stop.” The helicopter then “fell straight down.”

Examination of the accident scene revealed a debris path that was about 400 ft-long and oriented on a heading of 210° magnetic. It began in an open field of 4-ft-tall grass, with a 4-inch by 4-inch fractured piece of aluminum skin from the right side of the tailboom, just forward of the tail rotor arc. A portion of the helicopter’s registration number was visible on the piece. The right horizontal stabilizer was located 156 ft along the wreckage path, 70 ft left of the path centerline. The left horizontal stabilizer was located about 10 feet further along the path, and 205 ft left of the path centerline. A 4-ft-long section of the aft end of the tailboom, including the vertical stabilizer, the tail rotor gearbox (with one tail rotor blade attached) was located 30 ft further down the path, 10 ft left of centerline, just after the path transitioned from the grass field through the tree line into a wooded area. An impact mark on the right side of the tailboom section, near the fractured forward end, was consistent in size and shape with the profile of the main rotor blade. The wreckage path continued for another 200 ft through the woods, down a steep hill, with numerous fragments of clear plastic canopy along, and left and right of the path. The main wreckage was located at the end of the path and came to rest on its right side and top, almost completely inverted. The wreckage was largely consumed by a postimpact fire. Molten aluminum remnants were present at several locations beneath the main wreckage. There were no ground scars leading up to the main wreckage, and there was no damage to trees or foliage along the wreckage path, with the exception of some broken branches directly above, and immediately surrounding the main wreckage. 

Two pairs of push-pull control cables were continuous from their mounts (one on the right side fuselage tubing, the other on the cyclic control cross tube) in the cockpit area to fractured segments of control arms near the main rotor head. The left cyclic stick was not found, the right cyclic stick remained attached to its fitting on the cross tube, with no control rods found attached. The collective stick and collective cross tube were relatively intact. The throttle control torque tube remained intact: however, none of the linkage components remained attached to the torque tube. The collective cross tube weldment fittings remained in place; however, no attachment fittings or control rods remained attached at the weldment. The single push pull control cable from the left side anti-torque pedals was continuous from the pedals to the section of tailboom that remained attached to the fuselage. All of the small diameter wire elements were separated from the terminal fitting at the pedals, the single large diameter wire remained attached to the fitting. Both main rotor blades were intact, exhibited downward bending damage in several locations, and remained attached to the blade grips. The teetering hinge attach point was fractured on both sides of the main mast. One rotor blade had leading edge damage and gouging about 1-2 ft inboard of the blade tip. Both pitch change links were fractured at their upper (blade end) rod ends and both remained attached to fractured segments of their lower control horns. The tail rotor actuator linkage and pitch change links remained attached to the separated portion of the tailboom, all operated normally and smoothly. The tail rotor shaft rotated smoothly. The terminal end of the control cable remained attached to the control arm, no remnants of the cable remained connected to the terminal fitting.

The engine crankshaft would not rotate when a lever was applied by hand to the flywheel. One spark plug was removed from each cylinder, all electrodes were tan in color, the insulators were white, and the plugs were free from debris or contamination with the exception of the No. 3 spark plug which was oil-soaked. The rocker arm cover for the Nos 1 and 2 cylinder bank was removed, all rocker arms, pushrods, valve springs and stems were in place and intact. The Nos. 3 and 4 cylinder bank was inaccessible due to the wreckage orientation. All exhaust tubes were intact and undamaged. Both intake manifolds were fracture separated from their respective cylinder bank. The Nos 1 and 2 fuel injectors were separated from the intake manifold and found loose on the ground. The Nos 3 and 4 fuel injectors remained in the manifold. No lines remained attached to any of the injectors. A borescope examination of all cylinders revealed no anomalies to the piston tops or walls, and little or no buildup of carbon on the piston tops. The spin-on engine oil filter was opened an no debris was found in the filter element.

Fragments of rubber belts were found between engine pully assembly and secondary drive unit (which houses the sprag clutch) and between the secondary drive unit and the idlers and main sprocket. Most of the belts were consumed by fire. The secondary drive unit could not be rotated by hand. The main sprocket and engine pully assembly each had a single impact mark on the lower and upper edge, respectively, with no rotational scoring found around the circumference of either edge. The tail rotor drive belt was broken in several places, all tail rotor pulleys remained in place and intact. 

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. He did not possess a rotorcraft-helicopter rating. The pilot was the registered owner and builder of the helicopter, which was completed in May 2003.
Posted on Kathryn's Report

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Rotorway
Registration: N162KJ
Model/Series: Exec 162F 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: DDH,826 ft msl 
Observation Time: 17:54 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 22 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C /21°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 9000 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 210°
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Argyle, NY 
Destination: Argyle, NY

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 43.210144,-73.506795 

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

Craig E. Seeley
October 30th, 1964 - August 7th, 2021

Craig E Seeley of Argyle, New York passed away on August 7, 2021. Craig and his oldest daughter Katie Marie Seeley passed away together in a tragic accident.

Craig was born to Charles and Barbara Seeley of Greenfield Center, NY on October 30, 1964, in Glens Falls Hospital.

The oldest of three siblings, Craig had two sisters, Robin and Audrey. He was an adventurous child, which carried on into adulthood. With a love for speed, if it moved fast, Craig was in it or on it. Everything from cars to boats, bikes and motorcycles, jet skis and aircrafts. He started out racing BMX bikes, later participating in motocross and racing cars. At 16, he spontaneously entered his first car race where he won 1st place against a Shelby Mustang in his 280Z Datsun! Flying is what Craig loved most of all. His wife and children loved to watch him enjoy all these exciting hobbies, especially water skiing.

Craig attended Glens Falls High School and dual enrolled in BOCES, graduating in 1982 with a certificate in machining, where he found his niche. This skill served him well as President and Owner of Seeley Machine Inc. His parents were involved in the business and partnered together with Craig for many years. The company is still in operation today in Queensbury, NY. Craig was incredibly smart and talented, and he could fix or build most anything. His family meant everything to him, including all 8 of his dogs.

He had a home in Florida that he would escape to for some downtime and sunshine, which is where he met and later married his loving wife, LaRee Seeley. Craig and LaRee were married just under 10 years.

He is survived by his parents Charles and Barb; sisters, Audrey Seeley and Robin Yeckley; nieces, Nikki, Kristina, and Eilish; his youngest daughter, Jacquelyn Creeden (husband PJ); grandchildren, Preston, Max and Joanie Creeden, Charlotte Nichols, and Matthew Ryan; stepdaughter, Meghan Noll; along with many aunts, uncles, cousins, plus extended 'family' Anthony Nichols and CJ Sullivan.

Friends and family may call from 1pm to 5pm on Saturday, August 14, 2021, at M.B. Kilmer Funeral Home 136 Main St. South Glens Falls, NY 12801.

Services and burial will be private and at the convenience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a trust fund for Katie’s children, Charlotte, and Matthew, at Hudson River Community Credit Union. Craig and Katie were loved by many and will be missed greatly.

Katie Marie Seeley
December 18th, 1987 -  August 7th, 2021

It is with great sadness that we share the news of Katie Marie Seeley, 33, passing away on August 7, 2021, with her father doing one of the things they loved, flying. She was her father’s daughter. They shared their adventurous spirit whether it be racing on any toy with a motor, flying high in the sky, waterskiing, snowmobiling, or deciding to build their dream homes on their own terms.

Kate was a mom to two beautiful children Charlotte and Matthew. She loved them so much and was very proud of them. She taught them the love of nature and animals and the responsibilities of caring for both. Even as a single mom she made sure their time together was adventurous, exploratory, creative, and fearless. They played hard and laughed hard.

She had an overwhelming love for nature and animals. She was traveling home from North Carolina when she made it to Virginia to find out about a dog that was abandon. She right then turned around and headed to Kentucky to bring home her new dog Annie. She later became a certified wildlife rehabilitator. She was going to rescue them all one day. She was working on becoming certified in falconry. Her dream was to have an owl.

From a young age she was a thrill seeker. She was on waterskies by 6 years old followed by dirt bikes, snowboarding, and flying with her dad. She has been flying with her dad for over 20 years.

Katie made quite the entrance wherever she went, like the time she rode her motorcycle to senior ball in her dress. She liked putting on a show on the motorcycle doing stoppies, wheelies, the highchair and many more with Neil.

Kate was a true friend. If you were her friend, you better be ready for an honest friendship. She pulled no punches and didn’t sugar coat things. Like it or leave, love her or not, she was unapologetically herself.

One thing is for sure, Kate knew exactly who she was and how she wanted to live her life, with things that only brought her joy. Kate didn’t have time for things that didn’t have a soul. She lived purposefully each day. She truly was a modern-day Dorothy Do It All with a little sass, class and badass!

She was very thoughtful with her time, the people she surrounded herself with and she truly was living her best life.

Katie was predeceased by Matt Ryan, Her Maternal grandparents: James and Joan Marchese.

Katie is survived by her Children: Charlotte Nichols and Matthew Ryan; Mom and Bonus Dad, Denise and Gary Ganotes; Bonus Mom LaRee Seeley; Sister and brother in-law, Jacquelyn and PJ Creeden and their children: Preston, Maddox, and Joanie (Bestie) Mae; Bonus Sister Meghan Noll; Grandparents, Charles and Barbara Seeley; and many aunts, uncles and cousins. She is also survived by Anthony Nichols and her best friend CJ Sullivan; and her fur babies Annie(bananie), Gus Gus (fat man), Buck(bucky-boo) and Hazel (Noodle).

Friends and family can call from 1pm to 5pm on Saturday, August 14, 2021, at M.B Kilmer Funeral Home 136 Main St. South Glens Falls, NY 12803.

Services and burial will be private and at the convenience of the family.

In Lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a trust fund for Katie’s children, Charlotte, and Matthew, at Hudson River Community Credit Union.

New York State police on the scene of the crash.

ARGYLE — Two Argyle residents were killed when their helicopter crashed in a wooded area of Argyle early Saturday evening.

The crash happened at about 6:30 p.m. in an area off West Valley Road.

State police said the preliminary investigation determined that 56-year-old Craig E. Seeley and his daughter, 34-year-old Katie M. Seeley, were on board a civilian helicopter when it crashed.

No one on the ground was injured.

There was no information about a cause. The National Transportation Safety Board is handling the investigation.

NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said one of the investigators’ main priorities will be to document the scene and examine the rotorcraft.

“Part of the investigation will be to request radar data, weather information, air traffic control communication, helicopter maintenance records and the pilot’s medical records,” he said in an email.

Holloway anticipated that a preliminary report would be available in about 12 business days and posted on the NTSB’s website. Determining a cause and issuing a final report can take one to two years, he said.

Argyle firefighters and EMS staged on West Valley Road, south of the crash site. The site was not visible from the road.

Cossayuna firefighters were also on the scene.

This is believed to be the first fatal aviation crash in the area in recent memory.

This is the second aviation-related crash in Argyle in the last few months.

David L. Klingebiel, 80, of Bunker Hill Road in Salem, was flying his fixed-wing, single-engine plane on June 17 when he crashed just after 11 a.m. Klingebiel survived the crash, but had head, chest and leg injuries. That crash remains under investigation.

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