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Narrative:On March 6, 2010, about 11:20 CST (Central Standard Time), a Robinson R22 Beta II, N922SH, was substantially damaged during impact with terrain while maneuvering at low altitude at the Agave Ranch, 13 miles North of Cotulla, Texas. (Near co ordinates 28'60.25"N, 99'33.8055"W). The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by a private individual. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 local flight. The aerial hog hunting flight was the sixth flight of the morning and had departed around 1110.
Robinson R22 Beta II
|Owner/operator:||William R. Thompson (owner)|
|C/n / msn:|| 3863|
|Fatalities:||Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2|
|Airplane damage:|| Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||Agave Ranch, About 13 miles north of Cotulla, Texas -
United States of America
|Phase:|| En route|
|Departure airport:||Agave Ranch, About 13 miles north of Cotulla, Texas |
According to individuals at the Agave Ranch, they were contacted about providing an Axis deer hunt for the accident weekend. During the initial arrangements, the hunters were offered an aerial hog hunt in addition to the deer hunt, to which they agreed. To facilitate the aerial hog hunt, the ranch manager contacted the helicopter owner and arranged for the owner to furnish the helicopter, pilot, shotgun, and ammunition. Following the hunt the helicopter owner would provide an invoice for payment.
On the morning of the accident, the pilot arrived at the ranch around 0900 towing the two-seat helicopter on a trailer. The pilot provided a safety briefing to the four hunters to include proper use of the shotgun. The pilot also mentioned that each flight would be approximately 20 minutes in length, and that he would be operating the helicopter "light" on fuel so the helicopter would be more maneuverable.
An initial flight of 5 to 10 minutes was conducted with the ranch manager so he could point out the ranch perimeters to the pilot. The pilot then proceeded to fly the next three hunters, one at a time, for approximately 20 minutes each. The forth hunter requested the pilot return and land after approximate 10 minutes in order to give the first hunter more time to hunt. Approximately 10 minutes after the last flight departed, several of the waiting hunters heard what they described as a "whoosh whoosh whoosh," or a sound that resembled "a lawn mower bogging down in tall grass.” The helicopter wreckage was located a short time later.
According to the hunters, during each flight the pilot would fly about the height of a telephone pole and in a speed range of 0 to 25 mph. The pilot would notify the hunter when it was safe to shoot. While offloading and boarding the next hunter, the pilot would exit the running helicopter and add fuel from a tank located in the back of his truck. Those interviewed were unsure how many times the pilot added fuel to the helicopter. Two of the hunters reported that it was at least twice and the ranch manager recalled the pilot refueling between each hunter; however, he did not recall if the pilot had refueled before the last flight.
An examination of the truck-mounted fuel tank revealed that there was no gauge or means to determine how much fuel was being pumped into the helicopter.
PROBABLE CAUSE: The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: A loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion as a result of the pilot's inadequate fuel planning. Contributing to the accident was the low-altitude operating environment that would not allow for a successful autorotation after the loss of engine power.
1. NTSB Identification: CEN10FA139 at http://www.ntsb.gov/about/employment/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief2.aspx?ev_id=20100306X05331&ntsbno=CEN10FA139&akey=1
2. FAA: http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?omni=Home-N-Number&nNumberTxt=922SH
7. Photos of wreckage at Daytona Beach, Florida 24-10-2014: https://www.flickr.com/photos/57530104@N02/12794464335/in/photolist-kuAYuF-qetXW1-pZcrY3
||Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Source]|
||Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]|
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