Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Schweizer 269C, N292B: Accident occurred December 21, 2015 in Warrenton, Warren County, Missouri


NTSB Identification: CEN16LA084 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, December 21, 2015 in Warrenton, MO
Aircraft: SCHWEIZER 269C, registration: N292B
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On December 21, 2015, about 2130 central standard time, a Schweizer 269C helicopter, N292B, registered to the pilot, was destroyed after it impacted terrain after encountering fog while maneuvering in the vicinity of Warrenton, Missouri. The private pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries. The flight was being conducted under the provisions of Federal Aviation Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions, haze, and fog prevailed throughout the area and a flight plan was not filed. The flight originated from Moscow Mills, Missouri, about 2100 and was en route to the pilot's private home helipad in Waynesville, Missouri.

The pilot reported that he checked the weather before he departed Moscow Mills and said that the weather was good (6 miles visibility and clear skies). He said that there was a slight haze upon departure, about 100 feet AGL, and climbed to his planned en route altitude of 2,000 AGL. The first 15 minutes of the flight were uneventful until he approached the Missouri River area. As he continued he stated that he started to lose visual reference to the ground, but thought it was just a small area of fog and that he would fly out of it soon. He tried to descend but did not see the ground, so he climbed, but could not climb out of the low clouds. He said that his altitude ranged from about 1,200 to 2,000 feet AGL. He then decided that he should turn around and exit the way he came in. He started a slow right turn and after established in the turn, the helicopter struck a tree. The pilot tried to climb and the helicopter struck another tree. The pilot lowered the collective and the helicopter descended through the trees to the ground.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA St. Louis FSDO-62

Previous accident: 
NTSB Identification: DFW07CA146
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, June 28, 2007 in Slidell, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2007
Aircraft: Schweizer 269C, registration: N292B
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The single-engine helicopter encountered a settling with power condition resulting in a hard landing on a marsh. The 3,300-hour commercial pilot was hovering the helicopter at approximately 100 feet above the ground (AGL) while performing a wildlife/mapping survey, approximately 100 feet above ground level (AGL), when he lost control of the helicopter. The helicopter's tail-boom separated and the main rotor blades impacted the ground during the hard landing. The helicopter came to rest in the upright position with the nose pointing skyward. The pilot was able to exit the helicopter unassisted. The pilot reported that he had a 15 knot tailwind, when he slowed the helicopter to mark a waypoint. As he applied left torque pedal and added collective, the main rotor RPM drooped. The pilot was unable to recover sufficient rotor RPM to prevent ground contact. The pilot further stated that there were no malfunctions with the helicopter's engine or controls. Visual metrological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and the temperature was reported as 85-degrees Fahrenheit.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's encounter with settling with power condition while hovering out of ground effect. A contributing factor was the prevailing tailwind.

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