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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 45944
Last updated: 25 March 2020
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Time:09:22 PDT
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Robinson R44
Owner/operator:Classic Helicopter Corp.
Registration: N111PH
C/n / msn: 0972
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Lake Flora Road, Calvinwood, 3 miles South of Gorst, Washington -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington (BFI/KBFI)
Destination airport:
On May 11, 2001, approximately 09:22 PDT (Pacific Daylight Time), a Robinson R44, N111PH, registered to a private individual and operated by Classic Helicopter Corp., as a 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight, experienced an in-flight breakup while maneuvering about three miles south of Gorst, Washington. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The helicopter was destroyed by impact damage and post-crash fire. Both the flight instructor and private pilot were fatally injured. The flight originated from Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington, about 15 minutes prior to the accident.

Most witnesses were at various locations on the Trophy Lake Golf Course located about one-quarter to one-half mile away. One witness reported that he heard a sound and glanced up to see the helicopter initially travelling toward the golf course, then looked as if forward flight stopped before it made "some radical flight maneuvers." The witness described a sound difference with the main rotors before it lost 75 to 100 feet in altitude. The helicopter then made a "radical snap roll" maneuver before beginning a "cork-screw" dive. Prior to impact, the witness noticed that at about 200 to 250 feet above ground level, the tail rotors separated followed by the tail section separation at about 100 to 150 feet AGL. The witness then lost sight of the helicopter in the trees. Shortly thereafter, the witness heard an explosion and observed smoke. One other witness reported similar circumstances.

Several other witnesses reported hearing a "loud bang," "popping," "coughing," or "rough running" engine noise which brought their attention to the helicopter. Each of the witnesses reported observing the helicopter in a "nose down" or "wobbling" attitude while it spun, nose left, to ground impact. Prior to ground impact, the witnesses observed an object or objects separating from the helicopter.

Probable Cause: An abrupt application of the tail rotor/anti-torque pedal by an unknown pilot resulting in tail rotor contact with the tail boom. Tail rotor blades and empennage assembly separation, and trees were factors.

NOTE: The NTSB report gives the crash location as 'about 3 miles South of Gorst, Washington'. A Contemporary newspaper report (see link #3) gives the crash location as 'near Lake Flora Road, Calvinwood, about a quarter-mile north of Trophy Lake Golf Course in South Kitsap". The same report named the two fatalities thus: ' Two Seattle men were killed Friday morning when a helicopter crashed and burned in thick woods. The victims were identified as Robert E. LaPrarie, 59, and Wade C. Carter, 71, both of Seattle, Kitsap Coroner Greg Sandstrom said. Carter was the owner of Carter Subaru in Seattle. LaPrarie was an employee of Classic Helicopter Corp. of Seattle, which owned the Robinson 44 aircraft'.


1. NTSB Accident Number: SEA01FA089NTSB at
2. FAA register:

Revision history:

28-Oct-2008 00:45 ASN archive Added
19-Dec-2011 09:40 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
24-Aug-2016 21:32 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
10-Dec-2017 11:22 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
12-Oct-2018 21:43 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]

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