NTSB Identification: WPR12LA115
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 22, 2012 in Farmington, CA
Aircraft: TEXAS HELICOPTER CORP OH-13E/M74, registration: N43921
Injuries: 1 Serious.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On February 22, 2012, about 1125 Pacific standard time, a Texas Helicopter Corporation OH13E/M47, N43921, was substantially damaged under unknown circumstances while conducting an aerial application run on an agricultural field in Farmington, California. The commercial pilot received serious injuries. The flight was operated by Ag Air under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no FAA flight plan was filed for the flight.
According to the pilot and the assistant who loaded the chemical payload, the helicopter had been working the local fields since about 0830 that morning, and had applied about 13 loads. The helicopter lifted off to begin another spray run after reloading by the assistant, who then turned his attention elsewhere. Shortly thereafter, he heard the sounds of the helicopter crashing, and turned to look, but he did not witness the accident. He ran to the accident site, assisted the pilot, and summoned for help. The helicopter was highly fragmented, with a debris field that measured a few hundred feet square.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) information indicated that the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with a rotorcraft-helicopter rating, and a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and instrument ratings. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued in August 2011. He was the previous owner of the operator. The helicopter was certificated in 1977, and was equipped with a Lycoming VO-540 series piston engine.
The 1155 automated weather observation for Stockton Municipal Airport (SCK), Stockton, California, located about 9 miles west-southwest of the accident site, included variable direction winds at 3 knots; visibility 9 miles, clear skies; temperature 15 degrees C; dew point 8 degrees C; and an altimeter setting of 30.25 inches of mercury.
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