Sunday, April 17, 2022

Robinson R22 Beta, N7516G: Fatal accident occurred April 15, 2022 near Gila Bend Municipal Airport (E63), Maricopa County, Arizona

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 Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale, Arizona 
Lycoming Engines; Phoenix, Arizona 
Robinson Helicopter Company; Torrance, California 
Quantum Helicopters; Chandler, Arizona

Delta Leasing Inc doing business as Quantum Helicopters


Location: Gila Bend, Arizona
Accident Number: ANC22FA030
Date and Time: April 15, 2022, 08:37 Local 
Registration: N7516G
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R22 BETA 
Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

On April 15, 2022, about 0837 mountain standard time, a Robinson R22 helicopter, N7516G, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Gila Bend, Arizona. The student pilot was fatally injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 training flight.

The flight initiated at the Chandler Municipal Airport (CHD), Chandler, Arizona at about 0757. The flight was intended to be a solo cross-country flight to the Gila Bend Municipal Airport (E63), Gila Bend.

A witness, located about ½ mile west of the accident site, reported seeing the helicopter as it approached Runway 22. He said that as the helicopter neared the end of the runway, it began a rapid, near vertical descent. He noted that during the helicopter’s vertical descent, the main and tail rotor blades appeared to be rotating, but he was unable to discern at what speed. The witness added that he was unable to hear the engine of the helicopter because he was operating heavy equipment. The helicopter subsequently struck the ground about 212 ft from the edge of the runway, sustaining substantial damage to the fuselage, main and tail rotor drive systems, and tail boom. 

The helicopter was recovered and retained for further investigation.



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: ROBINSON HELICOPTER 
Registration: N7516G
Model/Series: R22 BETA 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built:
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot school (141)
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KGYR, 968 ft msl 
Observation Time: 08:47 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 31 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C /-5°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots / , 30°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.91 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Chandler, AZ (CHD) 
Destination: Gila Bend, AZ

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 32.950237,-112.65026 (est)

Rotorcraft crashed under unknown circumstances. 

Date: 15-APR-22
Time: 15:37:00Z
Regis#: N7516G
Aircraft Make: ROBINSON
Aircraft Model: R22
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 1
Flight Crew: 1
Pax: 0
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: INSTRUCTION
Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR)
Operation: 91
City: GILA BEND
State: ARIZONA

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


Aviation officials are investigating a fatal helicopter crash at the Gila Bend Municipal Airport on Friday morning.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Department said one person died in a crash reported around 8:30 a.m. at the airport located just east of Gila Bend off Arizona State Route 85.

Only the pilot was onboard the Robinson R22 helicopter, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

According to MCSO, the pilot, only identified as an adult male, was pronounced dead at the scene when deputies arrived.

An investigation into what may have caused the accident is being conducted by the FAA, as well as the National Transportation Safety Board.

Neither agency identifies people involved in aircraft accidents.

No further information was available as of Friday afternoon.