On May 2, 2006. at 1945 eastern standard time, a Robinson R44 Ravin II, N288RH, registered to Cape Fear Helicopters, Inc., and operated by an individual as a 14 CFR Part 91 business flight, collided with a transmission line while executing a precautionary landing following a tail rotor chip detector warning light, in Rocky Point, North Carolina. The helicopter received substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The commercial pilot reported no injuries. The flight originated from the Grand Strand Airport in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on May 2, 2006, at 1900. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to the pilot, during his flight to Burgaw, North Carolina, "my tail rotor chip light flickered. Approximately 20 seconds later it flickered again. Less than 1 minute later it came on and stayed on". He stated that he was familiar with the flight area enough to know there was a fire department directly across from his intended landing zone. He performed a precautionary landing in a flat, open field to shut down and inspect the helicopter. He said that on "the west side of 117N has tall pines and obscured the black Time Warner Cable TV Line. Since I could not see the Time Warner Cable line, but did realize there were phone and electric lines, I estimated I was sufficiently far enough away and below them based on my rotor tip/path/plain. I approached highway 117N to be close to a road in case something catastrophic occurred, rotated the helicopter 90 degrees to the north, was impacted by a strong lateral wind gust from the east. This wind abruptly swung my tail rotor into the low hanging Time Warner Cable TV line". He said the helicopter rotated another 90 degrees to an easterly heading, nosed down, from about 5 feet AGL, rolled to the left and impacted the ground. Examination of the tail rotor gearbox chip detector and associated electrical wiring found no evidence of contamination or electrical malfunctions. The closest weather reporting facility to the accident site was from the Wilmington International Airport, Wilmington, North Carolina, located 14 nautical miles north northeast of the accident site. The 1953 surface weather observation was: wind 220-degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10-statute miles, clear of clouds, temperature 18-degrees Celsius, dew point temperature 9-degrees Celsius, and altimeter 30.00 millimeters of mercury. The pilot further stated that there was "not a mechanical malfunction".