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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 78767
Last updated: 14 September 2021
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Date:15-OCT-2010
Time:11:10
Type:Silhouette image of generic B06 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell 206B JetRanger
Owner/operator:Missouri State Highway Patrol
Registration: N96MP
MSN: 3377
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Category:Accident
Location:Near to Spirit of St. Louis Airport -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Unknown
Departure airport:Arnold, MO
Destination airport:St. Louis, MO (SUS)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Narrative:
During the flight that preceded the accident flight, the pilot stated to one of the two officers aboard the helicopter that he would not be able to fly for as long as normal because he needed to obtain fuel. Upon completion of the observation flight, the pilot returned to the police department and shut down the helicopter to allow the two officers to exit. The pilot then restarted the helicopter and departed en route to an airport where he could refuel the helicopter. A witness near the accident site stated that he heard the helicopterís engine sputter and stop and saw the main rotor separate from the helicopter. The helicopter entered an uncontrolled descent and impacted terrain.

Postaccident examination of the helicopter revealed that there was no usable fuel on board and that the main rotor mast separated as a result of overload due to mast bumping (main rotor hub to rotor mast contact). No preimpact mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the helicopter were noted. Mast bumping typically results from a low-G flight condition caused by the pilot pushing the cyclic control forward abruptly from either straight-and-level flight or after a climb. Pushing the cyclic forward abruptly is contrary to the appropriate actions for entering an autorotation, which are lowering the collective pitch control to the full down position, adding antitorque pedal as needed to maintain heading, and applying cyclic as needed to maintain proper airspeed.

Review of the pilotís medical records indicated that he had a history of depression, anxiety, and obstructive sleep apnea. Each of these conditions had been documented and treated since 2007, and none were reported to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the pilotís airman medical application in 2010 or earlier. Any of these conditions may have disqualified the pilot from obtaining an airmanís medical certificate. Postmortem toxicological testing indicated that the pilot was taking alprazolam, an anti-anxiety medication, and venlafaxine, an anti-depressant. Alprazolam is one of a class of drugs which may worsen obstructive sleep apnea, and venlafaxine can cause fatigue and dizziness. The fact that the blood level of venlafaxine found was higher than normal therapeutic levels makes it more likely that the side effect of dizziness occurred and impaired the pilotís performance.
Probable Cause: The total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion, which resulted from the pilot's inadequate preflight planning and decision-making, and his improper control inputs following the loss of engine power, which resulted in mast bumping and separation of the main rotor. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's improper judgment in acting as a pilot with disqualifying medical conditions.

Sources:

NTSB
FAA register: http://www.odmp.org/officer/20548-sergeant-joseph-george-joe-schuengel
http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/article_9a693772-d87a-11df-9136-0017a4a78c22.html
http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?NNumbertxt=N96MP

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 4 months
Download report: Final report
Location


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
16-Oct-2010 09:26 sirjames111 Added
16-Oct-2010 15:28 Geno Updated [Time, Registration, Cn, Source]
21-Dec-2016 19:25 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
26-Nov-2017 18:34 ASN Update Bot Updated [Other fatalities, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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