On November 23, 1998, at 1245 central standard time, a Brantly-B2B, N2291U, piloted by an airline transport pilot, received substantial damage on impact with terrain. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The CFR Part 91 recreational certificate check ride was not operating on a flight plan. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector conducting the check ride was an inspector from the St. Louis Flight Standards District Office located in St. Ann, Missouri. The pilot and the FAA Inspector reported no injuries. The flight originated from Salem-Leckrone Airport, Salem, Illinois at 1215. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
A witness reported that the pilot demonstrated an engine failure from hover and upon touch down, with little drift, the helicopter began to pivot on the left skid and continued to roll until the blades impacted the ground.
The pilot reported that the FAA Inspector arrived at about 0915 to conduct the check ride. The pilot further reported that at the beginning of the oral portion of the examination, it was discovered that he needed 1.5 hours of solo flight time to complete the required experience which was then completed by approximately 1130 at which time the oral examination was continued and completed. In a written statement, the pilot stated, "...We began the flight check by discussing what we would do during the flight as to maneuvers, who would be flying, etc. We began with a normal lift off - hovering to a grassy area on the airport. We completed some pedal turns and had landed to discuss how we were to demonstrate a hovering auto rotation. The examiner instructed me to tell him what I would do as we performed the maneuver (stationary hover, roll off throttle, right pedal, cushion landing with collective, hold a/c lever with cyclic). I told him exactly when I would cut power and proceed to demonstrate with him near the controls. We touched down level with a slight left side drift. I was beginning to pull the collective after touch down when the helicopter rotated about the left skid." The pilot then added that the rotor struck the ground within a second or so.
In a written statement, the FAA Inspector stated, "...All briefings were conducted prior to flight to include that he was the PIC (pilot-in-command) and I was an observer/evaluator. Pick up to a hover and one landing was satisfactory along with sideward flight, fore-aft and 360 degree hovering turns. Upon completion of the initial hover work, the aircraft was landed to check the suitability of the landing site. While we were on the ground we discussed the hovering auto with regards to his training and no known problems were noted. I briefed (the pilot) that I would be near the controls during the maneuver. The aircraft was brought to a hover of approximately 2-1/2 - 3 feet and like was briefed, (the pilot) reduced the throttle and the aircraft began to settle. It wasn't until near ground contact that a left drift was noted by myself with the aircraft making ground contact left skid first causing a roll-over condition."
The FAA Inspector received a recurrent check ride on October 16, 1998 in a Robinson R-22. The inspector reported that he did not have any flight time in the make and model of the aircraft used during the accident check ride.
The Director of the National Transportation Safety Board's North Central Regional Office and the Investigator-In-Charge of the accident made numerous verbal requests to the FAA Inspector for a record of flight experience. The requests went unfulfilled, and a certified letter was then sent to the FAA Inspector requesting that he provide the requested information. The letter also went unfulfilled.
FAA Order 8700.1 CHG 8 states, under Section 2, Inspector Status During Practical Test, "B. Advice and Assistance. The Inspector conducting the practical test may occasionally find it necessary to give advice or assistance to an applicant during a test..."
An inspection of the helicopter by the Federal Aviation Administration revealed no mechanical anomalies.