Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary CEN13LA546

Rothbury, MI, USA

Aircraft #1

N2253U

BRANTLY B-2B

Analysis

The pilot reported that he initiated a takeoff in light and variable wind conditions from the middle of a private field. During the takeoff, the pilot initiated a left pedal turn to abort the takeoff, likely in an attempt to avoid trees. During the left pedal turn, a wind gust forced the helicopter toward the ground. The helicopter subsequently impacted the ground hard at a near-level attitude on an uphill slope. The main rotor blade struck the ground, and the helicopter then rolled and came to rest on its left side. The open field was about 750 feet long (east to west) and 150 feet wide. The field was surrounded by about 30- to 40-foot-tall pine trees with larger growth on the west end. Performance charts from the helicopters flight manual indicated that the helicopter should have had sufficient takeoff climb performance to clear the trees. Examination of the helicopter did not reveal any mechanical anomalies with the flight controls or engine that would have precluded normal operation. The pilot reported that the helicopter was operating normally before the accident.

Factual Information

On August 29, 2013, at 1643 eastern daylight time, a Brandtly B2B helicopter, N2253U, registered to and operated by the pilot, was substantially damaged when it impacted the ground after takeoff from a private field near Rothbury, Michigan. The commercial pilot and passenger received minor injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the vicinity and no flight plan was filed. The pilot reported that he initiated takeoff in light and variable wind conditions from the middle of a private field. He hover taxied downwind to the east end of the field before commencing the takeoff to the west. During the takeoff, the pilot realized that the helicopter would not clear a tree line located at the edge of the field. He initiated a pedal turn to the left away from the trees to attempt to abort the takeoff. He stated that during the left pedal turn, a gust of wind forced the helicopter toward the ground. The helicopter impacted the ground hard near level attitude on an uphill slope. The main rotor blade struck the ground, the helicopter rolled, and came to rest on its left side. The open field was approximately 750 feet in length (east to west) and 150 feet wide. The field was surrounded by pines trees approximately 30 to 40 feet tall with larger growth on the west end. Performance charts from the helicopters flight manual indicated that the helicopter should have had the takeoff climb performance to clear the trees during takeoff. Examination of the helicopter by an FAA inspector did not reveal any mechanical anomalies with the flight controls and engine. The pilot reported that the helicopter was operating normally prior to the accident.

Probable Cause and Findings

The pilot’s failure to maintain helicopter control while turning to avoid trees during an aborted takeoff in gusting wind conditions.

 

Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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