Sunday, September 05, 2021

Low Altitude Operation / Event: Bell 206B JetRanger, N91TA; accident occurred September 09, 2020 in Randle, Lewis County, Washington

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; Seattle, Washington

Northwest Helicopters I Inc

Location: Randle, Washington
Accident Number: WPR20LA331
Date & Time: September 9, 2020, 11:00 Local
Registration: N91TA
Aircraft: Bell 206 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Low altitude operation/event
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 133: Rotorcraft ext. load


The commercial pilot reported that, while hovering the helicopter and maneuvering aft about 60 ft above ground level during an external load operation, the tail rotor impacted a tree. He immediately lost yaw control, and the helicopter began to rapidly turn right. The main rotor then impacted trees, and the helicopter spun to the ground. The helicopter was destroyed by a postcrash fire. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from a tree while conducting an external load operation.


Personnel issues Monitoring environment - Pilot
Environmental issues Tree(s) - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-hover Low altitude operation/event (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial 
Age: 77, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land 
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter 
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 2 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: December 10, 2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: October 1, 2019
Flight Time: (Estimated) 30542 hours (Total, all aircraft), 23136 hours (Total, this make and model), 30105 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 108 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 34 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell 
Registration: N91TA
Model/Series: 206 B 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1981
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 3310
Landing Gear Type: None; Skid
Seats: 5
Date/Type of Last Inspection: September 10, 2020 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3350 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Turbo shaft
Airframe Total Time: 11222.5 Hrs at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rolls-Royce
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: 250-C-20B
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 420 Horsepower
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Rotorcraft external load (133)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCLS,177 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 53 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 10:15 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 285°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 3009 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C / 14°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Randle WA Fire Station, WA
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: Randle, WA
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 08:15 Local
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Randle-Kiona Airpark WN55 
Runway Surface Type:
Airport Elevation: 934 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 46.281154,-121.42271 (est)

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