Friday, January 14, 2022

Dynamic Rollover: Hiller UH-12C, N552DR; accident occurred January 12, 2021 in Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Indiana

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; Indianapolis, Indiana

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
Accident Number: CEN21LA124
Date and Time: January 12, 2021, 16:15 Local
Registration: N552DR
Aircraft: Hiller UH12C
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Dynamic rollover
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot stated that shortly after liftoff, the helicopter drifted left, and the left landing skid contacted the ground, which caused a dynamic rollover onto the helicopter’s left side. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the main rotor system, transmission structural support, and the tail rotor drive shaft. The pilot stated that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation. Additionally, the pilot stated that he had not flown the helicopter during the previous 2 months, and that the accident might have been prevented had he flown the helicopter more frequently.

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 control of the helicopter shortly after liftoff into a hover, which resulted in a dynamic rollover when the left landing skid contacted the ground.


Aircraft Lateral/bank control - Not attained/maintained
Aircraft Pitch control - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-hover Dynamic rollover (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 60, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land 
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter 
Restraint Used: Lap only
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: June 23, 2020
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: August 22, 2019
Flight Time: 727 hours (Total, all aircraft), 109 hours (Total, this make and model), 9 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Hiller 
Registration: N552DR
Model/Series: UH12C NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1956
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 562261
Landing Gear Type: None; High skid 
Seats: 3
Date/Type of Last Inspection: August 20, 2019 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3865.6 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Franklin
ELT: Not installed 
Engine Model/Series: 6V-335-B
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 215 Horsepower
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KLAF, 606 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 15:54 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 329°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots / 16 knots 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 240° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.09 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 6°C / -1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Lafayette, IN 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Lafayette, IN 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Private PVT 
Runway Surface Type:
Airport Elevation: 710 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 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 40.318149,-86.861809 (est)

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