FTW02FA028
FTW02FA028

On November 3, 2001, approximately 1230 central standard time, a Robinson R22 helicopter, N127RB, was substantially damaged when it impacted wires, trees, and terrain while maneuvering near Seagoville, Texas. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Sky Helicopters Inc., of Garland, Texas. The flight instructor sustained fatal injuries, and the pilot-rated student sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. The local flight departed Garland, Texas, approximately 1130.

According to the student, the objective of the flight lesson was to work on confined area and pinnacle landings. The student stated that he had practiced a number of confined area landings in the local area and along the Trinity River. The student added that following his last landing/takeoff, the flight instructor took over flying to give him a break. The flight instructor flew the helicopter north of the last few landing areas to review their lesson. The flight instructor turned the helicopter south and flew along the river instructing the student and commenting on the various landing areas. The student stated that he was looking over his right shoulder at one of the previous landing areas, and looked forward to see wires in front of the helicopter. The student exclaimed, "wires!" and saw the instructor pull up on the collective and left on the cyclic. The helicopter pitched up and rolled to the left; subsequently impacting trees and terrain along the left side of the river. The student reported that the visibility at the time of the accident was approximately 10 miles.

Examination of the accident site, by the NTSB investigator-in-charge and an FAA inspector, revealed a set of three unmarked wires, one which remained hanging across the river, and two others that were laying on the west bank of the river. The helicopter came to rest on its left side among trees approximately 100 yards from the wires. The wire that remained hanging across the river was approximately 40 feet above the river, and was below the tops of the trees along the banks. One of the tail rotor blades was found separated from the tail rotor hub, and the vertical and horizontal stabilizers were separated from the tail boom. The aforementioned items came to rest on the ground and in a tree, respectively, approximately 40 yards prior to the main wreckage. Examination of the helicopter revealed that the mast cowling displayed two marks and tears perpendicular to the mast.

The flight instructor had accumulated a total of 7,171 flight hours, of which 6,976 hours were in rotorcraft and 3,800 hours were in the same make and model as the accident helicopter.

The flight instructor was transported to the hospital, where he died at 1405. An autopsy conducted by the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, Dallas, Texas, determined the cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries." A toxicological test performed by the Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, detected atropine in the instructor's blood and liver. Atropine is typically administered as part of resuscitative efforts.

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