Thursday, March 24, 2016

Robinson R44 II Raven, Jaybird Air LLC, N843JB: Accident occurred March 23, 2016 at Cape Fear Regional Jetport/Howie Franklin Field Airport (KSUT), Oak Island, Brunswick County, North Carolina

JAYBIRD AIR LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N843JB

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Greensboro FSDO-39


NTSB Identification: GAA16CA160 

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 23, 2016 in Oak Island, NC
Aircraft: ROBINSON R44, registration: N843JB
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 flight instructor reported that the student pilot was asked to conduct several solo "pickups and set downs" on a grass area at the airport. The flight instructor exited the helicopter and observed the student pilot pick the helicopter up to a hover and set the helicopter back on the ground without incident. During the second iteration, the flight instructor observed the helicopter achieve a hover at 5 to 8 feet above ground level for several seconds. She reported that the helicopter then slowly yawed to the right and continued turning to the right until it was 270 degrees from its original heading.


The helicopter began to lose altitude, move forward, and the skids impacted the ground. She reported that the helicopter bounced back into the air after impacting the ground and rolled slightly to the left. The helicopter then abruptly rolled to the right, the nose came down, the main rotor blades impacted the ground, and the helicopter came to rest on its right side. After the impact, the flight instructor reported that she crawled inside of the cockpit to turn off the engine. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, main rotor system, tailboom, and horizontal stabilizer. 


The student pilot reported that he did not recall the accident sequence of events. The flight instructor reported that after the accident, while at the hospital with the student pilot, he reported to her that "I should have been able to control it [the helicopter]." 


The flight instructor verified that there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector who responded to the accident site, reported that he did not notice any mechanical control issues with the helicopter. He also reported that the engine had no signs of any issues and that witnesses stated that after the helicopter impacted the ground, the engine was still running.


As a safety recommendation, the flight instructor reported that her organization will increase the time allotment in their training syllabus to allow more emphasis to be placed on the importance of light control inputs and the catastrophic results that can occur from over controlling and abrupt inputs, particularly at a hover. 


The FAA has published the Helicopter Flying Handbook FAA-H-8083-21 (2012). This handbook discusses techniques for hovering and states in part:



To maintain the helicopter in a stabilized hover, make small, smooth, coordinated corrections. 




BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) -  The Federal Aviation Administration has released a report following a helicopter crash in Oak Island back in March.

According to airport officials, Wayne Page, 65, was operating a Robinson R-44 helicopter when it crashed in a field at the Cape Fear Regional Jetport on March 23.

The FAA’s investigation report states the student pilot was asked to conduct several solo “pickups and set downs” on a grassy area at the airport. The first attempt was successful. However, during the second attempt, the instructor observed the helicopter as it “slowly yawed” to the right while hovering about five to eight feet above ground level. The chopper continued turning to the right until it was 270 degrees from its original heading.

The report states the helicopter started to lose altitude. It moved forward and the aircraft’s skids impacted the ground.

The instructor told FAA investigators it bounced back into the air after hitting the ground and rolled slightly to the left. The helicopter then rolled to the right and the nose came down causing the main rotor blades to hit the ground.

The helicopter eventually landed on its right side.

Page walked away from the accident with minor injuries.

According to witnesses at the scene, the engine was still running after the helicopter crashed. The report states the instructor was able to crawl inside the helicopter to turn off the engine.

The helicopter had “substantial” damage to the fuselage, main rotor system, tailboom and horizontal stabilizer.

Page reportedly could not remember the sequence of events from the accident, but he told the instructor at the hospital that he “should have been able to control it.”

There were no reported pre-impact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have affected the normal operation of the helicopter.

As a safety recommendation, the flight instructor has increased the time allotment in the training syllabus. More emphasis will be put on the light control inputs and catastrophic results that can happen from over controlling and abrupt moves, particularly when the helicopter is hovering.

According to the FAA’s Helicopter Flying Handbook, pilots should make “small, smooth and coordinated corrections” so they can maintain the helicopter in a stabilized hover.


A helicopter crash reported in Brunswick County sent one man to the hospital on Wednesday morning.

According to Kathleen Bergan, spokeswoman with the Federal Aviation Administration, a Robinson R44 helicopter crashed in a grassy area at Cape Fear Regional Jetport/Howie Franklin Field, 4109 Long Beach Road, near Oak Island at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Along with emergency personnel, Oak Island Police, N.C. State Highway Patrol and Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, were among the local agencies that responded to the scene. According to John Clary, assistant manager at Cape Fear Regional Jetport, the pilot was training and is in the airport’s training school.

The pilot was taking off from the ground when it crashed from about 20 feet, Clary said. The pilot, whose identity has not been released, was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center and was later released from the hospital on Wednesday with “scratches and bruises,” Clary said.

Local authorities will release the name and condition of the pilot, Bergan said. The pilot was the only person on board the helicopter. The FAA is investigating and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine probable cause, which according to Bergan could take months. 

Original article can be found here:  http://portcitydaily.com

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