NTSB Identification: ERA13LA057
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, November 15, 2012 in Corning, NY
Aircraft: HUGHES 369D, registration: N369AW
Injuries: 2 Fatal.
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 November 15, 2012, at 1211 eastern standard time, a Hughes 369D (MD 500D), N369AW, operated by Haverfield Aviation Inc., was substantially damaged following a collision with power lines and terrain in Corning, New York. The commercial pilot and a passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight that departed the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport (ELM), Horseheads, NY, about 1145. The aerial observation flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
According to the operator, the helicopter was temporarily based at the Tri-Cities Airport (CZG) in Endicott, New York, and was being utilized to inspect the power lines after a recent storm. The helicopter conducted an uneventful flight earlier in the day and was subsequently refueled at ELM, before continuing survey operations.
Witnesses observed the helicopter flying west down a hill over power lines which extended east to west. One witness stated that the helicopter appeared below the highest tower, shortly before it struck the top of power lines that extended to the south, perpendicular to the helicopter’s flight path. The witness further stated that he did not hear any changes in the rhythm of the rotor blades prior to the impact.
The tail rotor assembly separated, the helicopter impacted the ground and came to rest inverted. A postcrash fire consumed a majority of the main wreckage. Initial examination of the helicopter by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector noted a power line wrapped around the main rotor assembly. The helicopter was recovered from the accident site and retained for further examination at a later date.
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