Thursday, November 25, 2021

Collision with Object (non-CFIT): Bell 206L-3 LongRanger III, N6516K; accident occurred September 08, 2021 in Tillamook, Oregon

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; Portland, Oregon

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Wilbur-Ellis Company Inc

Location: Tillamook, Oregon 
Accident Number: WPR21LA338
Date and Time: September 8, 2021, 11:00 Local 
Registration: N6516K
Aircraft: Bell 206L-3 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT) 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural


The helicopter pilot reported that he was on a low reconnaissance over a field in a canyon intended for agricultural application. During a climb out that was on a heading facing the sun, he lost sight of a previously identified powerline, and attempted to avoid it by referencing the two supporting powerline poles. As the helicopter flew closer, he located the wires and believed that the helicopter’s trajectory would clear the obstacle; however, the helicopter struck the powerline, the pilot lost control, and the helicopter descended and impacted terrain. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and main rotor system. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures 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 powerline during a low reconnaissance, with sun glare.


Aircraft Altitude - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Monitoring environment - Pilot
Personnel issues Decision making/judgment - Pilot
Environmental issues Wire - Effect on equipment
Environmental issues Glare - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-low-alt flying Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT) (Defining event)
Maneuvering-low-alt flying Low altitude operation/event

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Flight instructor
Age: 40, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present:
Instructor Rating(s): Helicopter; Instrument airplane 
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 2 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: December 19, 2020
Occupational Pilot: Yes 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: October 4, 2020
Flight Time: (Estimated) 3349 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1088 hours (Total, this make and model), 3261 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 215 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 68 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell
Registration: N6516K
Model/Series: 206L-3
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1990
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal; Restricted (Special)
Serial Number: 51391
Landing Gear Type: Skid 
Seats: 7
Date/Type of Last Inspection: August 30, 2021 100 hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 4150 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo shaft
Airframe Total Time: 18581.5 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: ALLISON
ELT: C126 installed, activated
Engine Model/Series: 250-C30P
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 650 Horsepower
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Rotorcraft external load (133), Agricultural aircraft (137)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KTMK, 37 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 10:35 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 293°
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: 30.05 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C / 13°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Tillamook, OR
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Tillamook, OR
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 10:35 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 45.36571,-123.64671 (est)

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