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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 133864
Last updated: 8 April 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic H500 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Hughes 369D
Owner/operator:Makani Kai Helicopters, Ltd.
Registration: N64MK
C/n / msn: 890565D
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 7
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Honolulu, HI -   United States of America
Phase: Unknown
Departure airport:HNL
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
On July 8, 1996 at 1604 hours Hawaiian standard time, a Hughes 369D, N64MK, collided with a Mooney M20J, N5801N, while both aircraft were cruising during a formation flight about 10 miles east of the Honolulu International Airport, Honolulu, Hawaii. The Hughes helicopter was operated by Makani Kai Helicopters, Ltd, and the Mooney airplane was operated by Cosmo Flying School, Inc., both located in Honolulu. The aircrafts' flights were performed under 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plans were filed. The purpose of the flights was to film a television movie. The helicopter ditched in the Pacific Ocean, about 1.5 miles south of Diamond Head. It sank in 150 feet of water and was destroyed. The commercial pilot and three passengers (cameraman and videotape engineers) were rescued, and none were injured. The Mooney was substantially damaged, and it returned for a landing at the Honolulu International Airport. Neither the airline transport pilot nor the two passengers (cameraman and an actress) were injured. Both aircraft had initiated their flights from Honolulu about 1555.

An examination of the recovered Hughes revealed the outboard portion of all five of its main rotor blades had sustained impact damage. The tip portion of one blade was severed. An inspection of the airplane revealed the outboard 3 feet of its right wing and a portion of the aileron was severed. (See the photographs and the wreckage diagram for measurements.)

According to the Hughes pilot, around 1400 he attended a preflight briefing which included the Mooney pilot and the film crews from both aircraft. The briefing lasted about 30 minutes. Another briefing was held just prior to takeoff.

After departure, the Hughes pilot joined up with the Mooney which was passing the Waikiki Beach and was the lead aircraft. The pilots were in radio contact with each other. Both pilots flew their aircraft from the left seat position. The aircraft cruised at 100 knots, about 1,000 feet above sea level.

The Hughes pilot reported that he flew together with the Mooney for 2 to 3 miles, and was located on the Mooney's right side and slightly above its altitude. The Hughes pilot further reported that during the formation flight he "felt a strong impact" and then "started to feel strong vibrations." Thereafter, main rotor rpm decreased, the low rotor rpm warning horn sounded, and he autorotated into the ocean.

According to the Mooney pilot, she also attended the preflight briefing. During the briefing it was agreed that she would be the lead aircraft in the formation flight. After takeoff, the Hughes pilot joined up with her on her right side. The Mooney pilot further reported that she kept the Hughes in sight, and eventually the helicopter appeared about 20 feet away from her airplane. According to the Mooney pilot, about the time of the accident she diverted her attention away from the Hughes when she pointed out to the actress (in the Mooney's front, right seat) the location of a shoreline hotel. The hotel was visible upon looking through the Mooney's left side windshield. The collision occurred while the pilot was looking in the direction of the hotel.

During the formation flight, filming (videotaping) was in progress in both the Hughes and the Mooney. The National Transportation Safety Board reviewed videotapes recovered from both aircraft. The videotapes were several minutes in length and provided both video and audio accounts of the events leading up to the collision. In summary, the videotape showed the closure rate between the Hughes and the Mooney, the ongoing activity in the Mooney seconds prior to the impact, and a partial view of the collision.

During the approximate 2-minute period which preceded the collision, the rear seated cameraman in the Hughes was filming the left side exterior of the Mooney. The pictures show the right side of the Mooney, and that airplane appeared to be maintaining a level flight attitude. The Hugh


NTSB id 20001208X06281

Revision history:

21-Dec-2016 19:26 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]

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