Accident Agusta A109C N109MX,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 45299
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Date:Tuesday 28 January 2003
Type:Silhouette image of generic A109 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Agusta A109C
Owner/operator:Air Angels, Inc.
Registration: N109MX
MSN: 7604
Year of manufacture:1989
Total airframe hrs:2994 hours
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:West Chicago, IL -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:West Chicago, IL (DPA)
Destination airport:West Chicago, IL (DPA)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The helicopter was destroyed when it impacted terrain about 2.0 nautical miles (nm) south of the departure airport during a positioning flight. Night marginal visual flight rules (MVFR) conditions prevailed with reduced visibilities and low clouds. After refueling the helicopter, the pilot requested to depart to the south in order to "status check a couple pieces of equipment" and then return to the heliplex located on the southeast perimeter of the airport. Aircraft radar track data showed the helicopter traveling south about 1.7 nm before turning to the south-southwest. While traveling to the south, the helicopter climbed to about 500 feet above ground level (agl) while accelerating from 95 knots to about 125 knots airspeed. The helicopter then entered an 18 second period where the climb rate increased from 500 feet/min to 2,000 feet/min and the helicopter reached a maximum altitude of about 1,000 feet agl. The helicopter decelerated from 125 to 100 knots airspeed during this climb. Based on the last two radar returns, the helicopter descended about 200 feet which resulted in a 1,350 feet/min descent rate. Further examination of the data showed the helicopter decelerating from 85 to 35 knots airspeed during the descent. The last radar return was at 800 feet agl and 425 feet east of the initial ground impact. The pilot was appropriately certificated to fly the helicopter and was employed as a pilot for an on-demand air ambulance service. The pilot was working his final shift as an employee with the company when the accident occurred. All primary airframe structural components, flight control systems, rotor systems, transmissions, and powerplant components were recovered at the accident site. Inspection of the recovered components did not exhibit any evidence of pre-impact malfunction. A review of the daily usage logs for the helicopter failed to reveal any unresolved maintenance discrepancies. The pilot who flew the helicopter prior to the accident flight did not report any malfunctions with the helicopter. A fuel sample was obtained from the source used to service the helicopter prior to the accident flight. The fuel sample was tested and met or exceeded the specifications for Aviation Turbine Fuel (Jet-A).

Probable Cause: The pilot's failure to maintain control of the helicopter while maneuvering, resulting in the excessive descent rate and impact with terrain. Factors to the accident included the dark night, low ceiling and reduced visibility at the time of the accident.




Revision history:

28-Oct-2008 00:45 ASN archive Added
07-Feb-2009 10:38 harro Updated
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
08-Dec-2017 18:01 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Nature, Source, Narrative]

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