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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 175335
Last updated: 22 March 2020
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Time:12:00 CST
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Robinson R44
Owner/operator:Jeff J Johnston
Registration: N7184G
C/n / msn: 0937
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Burlington Municipal Airport, Burlington, Wisconsin -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Burlington Municipal Airport, near Burlington, Wisconsin (BUU/KBUU)
Destination airport:Grand Geneva Resort Airport, near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (CO2)
On February 28, 2004, about 12:00 CST (Central Standard Time), a Robinson R44 helicopter, N7184G, sustained substantial damage when it impacted the ground, after contacting a power line, while departing Burlington Municipal Airport (BUU), near Burlington, Wisconsin. Visual Meteorological Conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot and passenger reported no injuries. The flight's destination was the Grand Geneva Resort Airport (C02), near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

The flight departed from Ann Arbor Municipal Airport (ARB), near Ann Arbor, Michigan, and landed at C02. C02 did not have fuel service. The pilot flew to BUU for fuel for the return flight to ARB that day. The pilot's accident report stated:

"I flew into Burlington from the south directly to the fuel depot. There was a fixed wing aircraft at the south of the depot (not fuelling) so I wanted to stay as far left as I could because of rotor wash. I landed the craft near the north end of depot for same reason. After receiving fuel, did my pre flight and started the aircraft. I cleared the area, did a slow vertical lift off and a left pedal turn. I was instantly in the wires which were [approximately] 10-12 [feet] north of depot and [approximately] 14-15 [feet] high. Obviously I didn't see the wires and have never seen wires that close to a fuel depot. The tail rotor got in the wires first and actually 'reeled' me backwards into the pole.

Then the main rotor made contact. Then we hit the ground. It took me a few seconds to kill the engine as we were being bounced around so violently."

The pilot did not indicate any mechanical malfunctions in reference to the flight on his report. His safety recommendation was:

"The wires should at the very least been marked or identified in some way (sign, placard). Most importantly they shouldn't have been so close to fuel depot 15-20 [feet] or so low. They should have been underground. This was a very dangerous set-up."

Probable Cause: The pilot's inadequate visual lookout and his failure to obtain/maintain clearance from the transmission wire during the takeoff. Factors contributing to the accident were the transmission wire and the pole.


1. NTSB Identification: CHI04LA079 at
2. FAA register:
4. (page B-77)

Revision history:

12-Apr-2015 19:55 Noro Added
02-Sep-2016 22:45 Dr.John Smith Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:30 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
07-Dec-2017 17:43 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
19-Oct-2018 01:11 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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