On January 3, 2000, at about 1430 Atlantic standard time, a Robinson R44, N233MP, registered to Heli-Secure Corporation, operated by Avietch, as a 14 CFR Part 91 demonstration flight crashed during a forced landing in the vicinity of Cayey, Puerto Rico. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The helicopter sustained substantial damage. The commercial pilot and three passengers reported no injuries. The flight originated from San Juan, Puerto Rico, about 1 hour before the accident.

The commercial pilot stated he was in cruise flight over a residential area between 500 to 700 feet and about 70 to 80 knots, when the helicopter experienced a loss in rotor and engine rpm. He lowered the collective pitch and increased throttle with negative results. The helicopter was descending; he observed power lines to his front and an open field to his right. He started a right turn towards the field, but realized he could not make it. He saw a steel carport adjacent to a house, and made a forced landing to the carport. The helicopter touched down on the car port, the aircraft set level for about two seconds when the right skid slipped through the tin roof causing the helicopter to roll over on its right side, and the main rotor blades collided with the roof. (For additional information see NTSB pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report and Statement FAA Aviation Safety Inspector Statement an attachment to this report.)

The wreckage of N233MP was transported to Robinson Helicopter Company for further examination. The wreckage arrived in a sealed container on February 15,2000, and was examined by the NTSB and parties to the NTSB investigation on March 27, 2000. Examination of the airframe and flight control assembly revealed no evidence of a precrash mechanical failure or malfunction. The engine assembly was mounted in a dynamometer test cell on March 28, 2000. The engine produced corrected power of 252 horsepower at 2,800 rpm which exceeds the R44 derated requirements of 225 horsepower 5-minute takeoff rating and maximum continuous rating of 205 horsepower at 2,692 rpm.

After the test run, the engine was examined for leaks, cracks, or other anomalies. None were found. The engine did not exhibit any excessive heat discoloration or evidence of excessive oil consumption.

The Robinson Helicopter Pilot's Operating Handbook contains policies regarding the use of carburetor heat. The handbook states: "If an unexplained drop in manifold pressure or rpm occurs, apply full carb heat for about one minute and check for an increase in manifold pressure or rpm. Regardless of CAT gauge temperature, apply full carb heat prior to reducing power for descent or autorotation." The carb heat control was found in the cold (off) position and the pilot stated in his pilot report that he did not use carb heat and suspected that might be the cause for the engine power loss. (For additional information see NTSB Powerplant Group Chairman's Factual Report and Textron Lycoming Air Safety Investigation Aircraft Mishap Report Field Notes an attachment to this report.)

The wreckage of N233MP was released to Mr. Sherwood Bresler, Robison Helicopter Company on May 29, 2001.

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