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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 233636
Last updated: 1 July 2020
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Time:c. 11:30
Type:Silhouette image of generic EC30 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Eurocopter EC 130B4
Owner/operator:Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
Registration: N11QK
C/n / msn: 3639
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Leilani Estates, Big Island, HI -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Hilo International Airport, HI (ITO/PHTO)
Destination airport:
The EC 130B4 experienced a precautionary landing and subsequent rollover in a lava field in the Leilani Estates area on Big Island of Hawaii. The tour helicopter sustained substantial and injuries among the six occupants onboard have not been disclosed.

According to the pilot, the accident helicopter was the second of two commercial air tour helicopters departing Hilo International Airport (PHTO). After departure, they flew in a southerly direction and remained slightly offshore for a short time before turning west along the shoreline. The two helicopters proceeded to a geographic area known as the "Old Ocean Entry." As the helicopter passed over the shoreline, the pilot noticed a significant, high frequency airframe vibration. He said that as soon as the vibration started, the tail rotor chip annunciator light briefly illuminated, and as the vibration continued, the tail rotor chip light "flickered." The vibration and noise stopped after a few seconds and the chip light extinguished. He selected a large open area as a precautionary landing site and slowed the helicopter on the approach. As the helicopter slowed, he raised the collective, and applied right tail rotor pedal, but the nose of the helicopter veered to the left. The pilot noted that he eventually applied full right tail rotor pedal, but the nose of the helicopter continued to the left. At about 200 feet above ground level, with the right tail rotor pedal fully depressed, the helicopter began to spin to the left. In an effort to stop the spin, he attempted to gain forward airspeed, but eventually closed the engine throttle and preformed a hovering autorotation. He said the helicopter descended, touched down hard, and subsequently rolled on its right side, sustaining substantial damage to the fuselage, tail boom, and the main rotor drive system.

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) postaccident examination of the helicopter revealed that one of the ten tail rotor fenestron blades fractured at the blade root, and it subsequently deflected off the fenestron drive shaft, creating an imbalance, which was followed by the failure of the drive shaft. The tail rotor chip detector cannon plug was found to have an intermittent connection, and an inspection of the tail rotor gearbox magnetic drain plug revealed very small metallic particles. All ten tail rotor fenestron blades have been retained and shipped to the NTSB's Materials Laboratory for further examination.

Sources:,P95_LOC_CITY_NAME,P95_REGIST_NBR:05-MAR-20,HILO,N11QK'25.0%22N+15455'13.0%22W/@19.473611,-154.920278,30845m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d19.473611!4d-154.920278?hl=en (photo)

Revision history:

05-Mar-2020 23:26 Geno Added
06-Mar-2020 01:36 RobertMB Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Total occupants, Departure airport, Narrative]
06-Mar-2020 03:56 RobertMB Updated [Time]
06-Mar-2020 15:52 RobertMB Updated [Registration, Cn, Source, Damage]
07-Mar-2020 20:21 Captain Adam Updated [Location, Damage, Narrative]
01-Jul-2020 21:18 Aerossurance Updated [Phase, Nature, Source, Narrative]

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