CEN09LA149A
CEN09LA149A

On January 31, 2009, approximately 1355 central standard time, a Robinson R22, N226AP, piloted by a commercial certificated flight instructor, and a North American T-6G, N51KT, piloted by a commercial pilot, collided in midair over Weiser Air Park, Cypress, Texas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The R22 was on an instructional flight and the T-6G was on a sightseeing flight. Both flights were being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 without flight plans. The flight instructor and student pilot aboard the R22 sustained minor injuries, and the pilot and passenger aboard the T-6G were not injured. The R22 was destroyed and the T-6G sustained minor damage. The local flights of both aircraft were originating at the time of the accident.

According to the T-6G pilot’s report, she announced that they were departing on runway 27. At that time, the R22 was slightly to the left of runway 27. As the T-6G flew over, the helicopter’s main rotor blades struck its left wing tip. The impact spun the helicopter around and it impacted the ground next to the runway. The pilot on the T-6G remained in the traffic pattern and landed on runway 27.

According to the R22 flight instructor’s statement, he was having the student pilot practice hovering and "hovering auto" maneuvers in preparation for the student’s upcoming flight check. They air-taxied to runway 27 and announced on the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) that they were departing on runway 27. They made a "quick stop," and then announced they were "on the go." There is no evidence that the helicopter made a clearing turn before proceeding.

An examination of the R22 showed that the firewall was buckled, one skid was broken, the tail rotor and tail cone were crushed, and the engine and transmission were twisted. An examination of the T-6G showed its left wing tip was separated.

A video tape of the collision appeared on the Internet on "MySpace". The helicopter operator downloaded the video onto a disk and sent it to the Investigator-in-Charge. The disk was sent to National Transportation Safety Board’s video laboratory for analysis. According to the Video Specialist’s Factual Report, the pilot of T-6G reported she was taking off on runway 27 at 1354:29, and 26 seconds later the airplane lifted off. The helicopter then became visible to the left of the T-6G’s nose, just as the helicopter pilot called on the radio, “*six Alpha Papa is on the go again.” The helicopter was visible in the extreme left of the video frame, just forward of the left wing. It appeared to be in a nose-low attitude, flying just above the taxiway to the left of the aircraft. The collision occurred 5 seconds later. The T-6G appeared to be in level flight attitude slightly left of runway centerline. The pilot remained in a left-closed traffic pattern and landed.

The following is the transcription of the audio portion taken from the video tape/disk:

1351:03 “Weiser traffic North American back-taxi two seven Weiser.”

1352:51 “Weiser traffic North American back-taxi two seven.”

1253:27 [Pilot comment about waving to a helicopter and an observation
that the helicopter crew are too busy to respond].

1354:00 “*six Alpha Papa is on the go we’re in the grass on the south
side of the field two seven right traffic watching.”

1354:08 [Passenger comment that other aircraft does right traffic
and ‘we’ do left traffic; observation confirmed by pilot].

1354:24 “Weiser traffic five eight Golf Sierra’s is clear of active two
seven Weiser”

1354:29 “Weiser traffic North American departing two seven Weiser.”

1354:55 [Aircraft lifts off from runway].

1354:57 “*six Alpha Papa is on the go again.”

1355:00 [Momentary vibration in camera view and pilot/passenger
comments indicating a collision event just occurred].

1356:14 “Weiser traffic North American turning base-final two seven.”

1356:53 [Aircraft completes landing on runway two seven].

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