FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Sacramento FSDO-25
NTSB Identification: WPR16LA104
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Friday, May 06, 2016 in Maxwell, CA
Aircraft: BELL UH 1B, registration: N486SA
Injuries: 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 May 6, 2016, about 1700 Pacific daylight time, a Bell UH-1B, N486SA, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of main rotor and engine RPM during takeoff from a private staging area near Maxwell, California. The helicopter was registered to a private individual and operated by Jones Flying Service, Biggs, California, under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the helicopter, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local aerial application flight which was originating at the time of the accident.
The pilot reported that after loading 300 gallons of chemical within the hopper, he conducted a pre takeoff checklist, noting all instruments indicated normally. The pilot initiated takeoff from the truck, and as it climbed over the tree canopy, the rotor and engine RPM began to decay rapidly. The pilot initiated a right turn and attempted to gain airspeed and recover the rotor RPM, however, was unsuccessful, and initiated a landing within an almond orchard. Subsequently the helicopter landed hard and came to rest upright.
Examination of the helicopter by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the fuselage and tailboom were structurally damaged. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.