Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Enstrom F-28F, N756H, BRD Equipment LLC: Accident occurred January 13, 2016 in Ritter Butte, Grant County, Oregon

BRD EQUIPMENT LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N756H

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Portland FSDO-09

NTSB Identification: GAA16LA100
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 13, 2016 in Ritter Butte, OR
Aircraft: ENSTROM F-28, registration: N756H
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Uninjured.

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 January 13, 2016, about 1000 Pacific standard time, an Enstrom F-28F helicopter, N756H, impacted terrain while maneuvering at a low altitude, about 5 miles southeast of Ritter, Oregon. The pilot sustained serious injuries and the passenger had no injuries. The helicopter was registered to BRD Equipment LLC of Adams, Oregon, and operated by Southern Helicopter Company of Pendleton, Oregon, as a personal local flight under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site about the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from and was destined to returned to a private residence near Ritter, OR.

According to the pilot, the purpose of the flight was for predator animal control in an area of adjoining ranches. The pilot stated that, during the flight, the fuel indicator began "bouncing back and forth and read erratically". The pilot reported that consequently, he used his watch to time his fuel burn to know when he had to return to the fuel point. As the pilot was about to return to the fuel point, the fuel indicator stabilized with about one quarter of a tank of fuel and the pilot flew in the direction of the fuel truck. The pilot stated he was about 100 feet above the terrain when the low fuel indicator illuminated and subsequently the engine lost power. The pilot estimated he had a 20 mile per hour tailwind and performed a 180 turn to point the nose of the helicopter into the wind while auto rotating. After completing the 180 turn, the pilot did not see any flat or open terrain and chose to land on a rocky outcropping trying to avoid landing in trees and impacted terrain.

NTSB Identification: GAA16LA100
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 13, 2016 in Ritter Butte, OR
Aircraft: ENSTROM F-28F, registration: N756H
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Uninjured.

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 January 13, 2016, about 0940 Pacific standard time, an Enstrom F-28F helicopter, N756H, impacted terrain while maneuvering at a low altitude, about 5 miles southeast of Ritter, Oregon. The pilot sustained serious injuries and the passenger had no injuries. The helicopter was registered to BRD Equipment LLC of Adams, Oregon, and operated by Southern Helicopter Company of Pendleton, Oregon, as a personal local flight under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site about the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from and was destined to returned to a private residence near Ritter. 

According to the pilot, the purpose of the flight was predator control in an area of adjoining ranches. The pilot stated that, during the flight, the fuel indicator began bouncing back and forth and read erroneously. The pilot stated that consequently, he used his watch to time his fuel burn to know when he had to return to the fuel point. As the pilot was about to return to the fuel point, the fuel indicator stopped bouncing and he flew in the direction of the fuel truck. The pilot stated he was about 95 feet above the terrain when the low fuel indicator illuminated and subsequently the engine lost power. The pilot estimated he had a 15 knot tailwind and performed a 180 degree turn to point the nose of the helicopter into the wind while autorotating. After completing the 180 degree turn, the pilot estimated he was 15 to 20 feet above the ground and tried to flare, but "came down fast and hard" and impacted terrain.

During impact the helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and main rotor blades.

The wreckage of a 1988 Enstrom helicopter was found near Ritter Butte Lookout in northern Grant County. The crash was reported at 10:06 a.m. Wednesday, January 13. The pilot of the helicopter, Cliff A. Hoeft, 60, Pilot Rock, and a passenger, Cody Cole, 34, Monument, were transported by ambulance to Blue Mountain Hospital in John Day. Hoeft was later transferred by aircraft to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend.






RITTER — A helicopter pilot and his passenger were injured in a crash near Ritter Butte Wednesday morning.

Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer said a helicopter being used to hunt coyotes ran out of fuel and crashed into several juniper trees on a rock outcropping on property owned by Paul Walton, Ritter, about a half-mile southwest of the Ritter Butte Lookout and one-and-a-half miles west of Highway 395 in northern Grant County.


The crash was reported at about 10:06 a.m. Jan. 13, and the sheriff’s office, along with ambulances from Long Creek and John Day, were dispatched to the scene.


Palmer said, when he arrived on the scene, members of the Long Creek Fire Department were packing the helicopter pilot, Cliff A. Hoeft, 60, Pilot Rock, several hundred yards to an awaiting ambulance.


The single passenger, Cody J. Cole, 34, Monument, walked away from the crash, Palmer said, but both men were transported to Blue Mountain Hospital in John Day. Hoeft was later transferred by aircraft to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend.


Palmer, who conducted the initial investigation, said the men were “lucky to be alive.” He said the 1988 Enstrom helicopter, registered to BRD Equipment in Adams, was heavily damaged and is considered a total loss.


Palmer said the helicopter and pilot were hired by a number of people who were hunting coyotes on adjoining properties in the area. He said different passengers were taking turns shooting from the helicopter, and the crash occurred within about 1,000 yards of where the aircraft had been landing near the group of hunters.


Story and photo gallery: http://www.bluemountaineagle.com 




The wreckage of a Enstrom F-28F helicopter was found near Ritter Butte Lookout in northern Grant County.



The wreckage of a Enstrom F-28F was found near Ritter Butte Lookout in northern Grant County

The wreckage of a Enstrom F-28F helicopter was found near Ritter Butte Lookout in northern Grant County.

Two ambulances responded to a helicopter crash in Grant County Wednesday, transporting two men to Blue Mountain Hospital in John Day.

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