Home' Heliweb Magazine : Heliweb Magazine April 2014 Contents 24 heliweb.com
NTSB Identification: *ERA14TA096*
Date: January 17, 2014
Location: Houlton, ME
Aircraft: EUROCOPTER AS 350 B3
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.
On January 17, 2014, about 2040 eastern standard time, a
Eurocopter AS350B3 was substantially damaged following
an engine anomaly at Houlton International Airport (HUL),
Houlton, Maine. The two commercial pilots were not
injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed.
The helicopter was operating on a company flight plan for
the local public use flight.
According to the copilot, the helicopter had just returned to
HUL after a search and rescue mission, with the copilot flying.
The crew then commenced takeoff and landing practice for
night flight and night vision goggle recurrency.
The copilot stated that he had completed three landings to
runway 23, with one landing at the beginning, one near the
middle, and one toward the end. He then took off again,
hovered, and began a transition to forward flight with
forward cyclic and a slight amount of increased collective.
As he was beginning to apply cyclic, he heard and felt a
loud explosion from the rear of the helicopter, followed by a
severe vertical vibration, and the engine noise became very
loud.The helicopter began to experience cyclic controllability
problems along with some yaw instability as well.The pilot
in command (PIC) called out the rotor rpm warning horn,
but the copilot was unsure whether it was constant or
intermittent due to the engine noise. Helicopter control
continued to rapidly decay for the next 5 to 10 seconds, at
which time the PIC took control.
The copilot subsequently made two mayday calls over the
radio, and almost immediately, the helicopter began“severe”
pitch and roll oscillations. During some of the oscillations, the
left side door came open, but the copilot was able to get it
closed again. About that time, he also noticed the red GOV
light was illuminated. After 10 to 20 seconds, the PIC was
able to regain some control of the helicopter, there was a
decrease in engine and rotor noise, and the PIC was able to
land the helicopter beyond snow banks at the end of the
runway. After performing an emergency shutdown, the PIC
said he thought the helicopter was on fire, and although the
FIRE light was not illuminated, there was an orange glow
reflected in the snow. Upon exiting the helicopter, the copilot
saw flames coming from the engine compartment; he tried
to extinguish the fire with a portable fire extinguisher, but
without effect. The local fire company arrived about 10
minutes later and subsequently extinguished the flames.
According to the PIC, after the explosion, the Nr overspeed
warning sounded and a vertical vibration developed. At that
point, the helicopter had not yet begun yaw oscillations, so
the PIC felt they still had tail rotor thrust. He could not quite
hear if the Nr warning was intermittent or continuous (low
Nr) and told the copilot they could have low rotor rpm.
He believed that the copilot then lowered the collective
slightly in response to his statement, but the noise increased
and the oscillation began. The PIC then took control of the
helicopter. As he did, he observed two amber caution lights
and what he believed were two red warning lights. Severe
vertical vibrations and almost uncontrollable yaw oscillations
continued, as did a high Nr warning.
The PIC then focused on trying to keep the helicopter’s skids
level, not hitting the ground, and not flying out of ground
effect. He could not ascertain airspeed, and there were three
instances when he estimated that the helicopter entered
30- to 40-degree banks.
Throughout the event, the PIC could not adjust collective
without inducing “extreme” attitude excursions. He could
also not maintain the helicopter in a position where he
could roll off the throttle. Then, after about 30 seconds, the
attitude excursions began to“calm down,”and the pilot was
able to land the helicopter beyond the snow bank. As the
helicopter touched down, the PIC noted that the red FIRE
light was not illuminated, and that the original two red lights
he saw were actually an amber ENG CHIP light and the red
GOV light. After the event, and reviewing training materials,
the PIC was able to estimate that the amber lights he saw
were the FUEL P and DOOR lights.
Federal Aviation Administration and NTSB personnel did not
respond to the scene, while CBP investigators did, along with
investigators from Airbus Helicopters (formerly American
Eurocopter) and Turbomeca, who were serving as advisors
to the state of manufacturer and design, France. The Arriel 2B
engine and some additional components were removed from
the helicopter and shipped to Turbomeca, where additional
examinations occurred with NTSB oversight. Results are
NTSB Identification: *ERA14TA113*
Date: February 03, 2014
Location: Naples, FL
Aircraft: HUGHES 369D
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.
On February 3, 2014, about 1350 eastern standard time, a
Hughes 369D was substantially damaged during a practice
180 degree autorotation to touchdown at Naples Municipal
Airport (APF), Naples, Florida. The airline transport pilot and
flight instructor were not injured. Visual meteorological
conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the
local public use training flight.
According to the flight instructor, prior to the last practice
“fulldown” autorotation, they had performed two running
landings, two stuck left pedal maneuvers, three stuck right
pedal maneuvers, and eight successful autorotations. Just
like the previous eight, the helicopter responded the same
during the flare but this time it suddenly lost altitude and
contacted the ground. The instructor “quickly grabbed” the
controls and landed the helicopter which had yawed 90
degrees to the right. The airline transport pilot then asked
him what happened.
According to the airplane transport pilot (ATP), he was
undergoing annual proficiency training, and after completing
the simulated stuck pedal maneuvers, and run on landings,
four straight in touchdown autorotations were performed,
followed by 180 degree autorotations to touchdown. Two
were performed successfully but, on the third one, the tail
of the helicopter contacted the ground. The ATP believed
that the entry to the maneuver was normal and that during
the turn to achieve the rollout prior to touchdown that the
helicopter was level and was “essentially” into the wind,
at most 10 to 15 degrees left of the nose and landing
direction. He was at the target speed of approximately 60
knots indicated airspeed, and the rotor rpm was in the“mid-
green arc.”The flare was initiated about 50 feet above ground
level (agl) to arrest the forward motion as he had done on
the previous autorotations but, at some point during the
flare he felt a “bump.”The procedure was continued per the
profile with the forward motion having been arrested, the
helicopter was leveled off and a “pitch pull” was initiated,
resulting in a“normal”touchdown with little forward motion,
coming to rest turned to the right from its flight path by
approximately 60 degrees.
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