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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 213594
Last updated: 9 August 2020
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Time:12:00 CDT
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Robinson R44
Owner/operator:Midwest Aeronautical Training Inc
Registration: N7036J
C/n / msn: 0583
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Spirit of St. Louis Airport, Chesterfield, Missouri. -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Spirit of St. Louis Airport, Chesterfield, Missouri (SUS/KSUS)
Destination airport:Spirit of St. Louis Airport, Chesterfield, Missouri (SUS/KSUS)
Investigating agency: NTSB
On August 5, 2004, at 12:00 CDT (Central Daylight Time), a Robinson R44, N7036J, piloted by a commercial pilot, was substantially damaged when the main rotor contacted an open hangar door during takeoff and the helicopter subsequently impacted the ground at Spirit of St. Louis Airport (SUS), Chesterfield, Missouri. The flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91 and was not on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The pilot and 2 passengers reported no injuries. A third passenger reported minor injuries. The local flight was originating at the Spirit of St. Louis Airport, Chesterfield, Missouri at the time of the accident.

In his written statement, the pilot reported that the flight was to be a local sightseeing flight for the 3 passengers. He added that the left side flight controls had been removed. The pilot stated that the helicopter was parked on the ramp approximately 35 feet from the hangar. He reported that the bi-fold hangar door was open and extended about 10 feet out over the ramp.

The pilot stated that after completing the normal start-up and pre-flight procedures, he established that the area was clear and picked up into a 6-8 foot hover. He reported that he began to move away from the hangar. He stated that as he did so the passenger in the left front seat turned to his right and "accidentally and inadvertently hit or bumped the counterweight portion of the cyclic as he turned."

The pilot stated that the helicopter drifted toward the open hangar door and before he could correct the drift the main rotor clipped the bottom edge of the door. He recalled: "I quickly maneuvered away from the hangar building and began to level the aircraft." The helicopter descended to the ramp. The subsequent hard landing caused the skids to collapse and the main rotor to sever the tail boom.

A ground witness to the accident submitted a video recording of the accident flight. Review of the recording revealed that after the helicopter lifted-off, it paused in a hover for a few seconds and then began to climb out, subsequently contacting the door. No drift toward the hangar building was observed prior to rotor blade contact with the door.

Probable Cause and Findings: The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's inadequate pre flight planning due to his selection of an unsuitable takeoff area and his failure to maintain clearance from the open hangar door. A contributing factor was the open hangar door.


1. NTSB Accident Number: CHI04LA212 at
2. FAA:

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

23-Jul-2018 19:50 Chieftain Added
23-Jul-2018 19:53 harro Updated [Time, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Location, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Damage, Narrative]
23-Jul-2018 19:53 harro Updated [Time]
12-Oct-2018 21:23 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]

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