Monday, June 20, 2022

Robinson R44, N132TC: Accident occurred May 26, 2022 in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

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 did not travel to the scene of this accident. 


Location: North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Accident Number: ERA22LA256
Date and Time: May 26, 2022, 13:40 Local 
Registration: N132TC
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

On May 26, 2022, about 1340 eastern daylight time, a Robinson R44 helicopter, N132TC, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The flight instructor and the student pilot were not injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

According to the instructor, the student pilot performed a visual approach, which he terminated at a hover. The student landed the helicopter and then performed a takeoff to a hover. Seconds later, the helicopter began to “aggressively shudder.” Loud, rapid reports were heard, and the nose of the helicopter yawed to the left. The instructor assumed control of the helicopter, closed the throttle, and performed an autorotation from a hover, landing the helicopter upright on its skids, which resulted in substantial damage to the airframe.

The instructor completed an engine shutdown, egressed the helicopter, and noticed that the main rotor was still turning while the tail rotor remained stationary. A cursory examination of the helicopter revealed no visible exterior damage and “bits” of engine / transmission drive belts on the runway surface. A post-accident examination revealed that the clutch shaft yoke fractured at one of its two bolt lugs where the yoke attached to the flex plate. The photographs lacked the resolution to examine the fracture surfaces. All other damage depicted appeared to be impact damage from the rotating assemblies left unsecured by the fractured lug. The fractured and separated lug piece from the yoke was recovered and retained for further examination along with the components of the flex plate and yoke assemblies.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N132TC
Model/Series: R44 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built:
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: KCRE,29 ft msl
Observation Time: 13:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C /20°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots / , 110°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.17 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Southport, NC (SUT)
Destination: North Myrtle Beach, SC

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 33.808099,-78.728463