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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA19LA152
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Monday, April 15, 2019 in Dublin, GA
Aircraft: Bell 206, registration: N395AE
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On April 15, 2019, at 0351 eastern daylight time, a Bell 206-L1+ helicopter, N395AE, sustained substantial damage when it made a hard landing after a total loss of engine power on takeoff from the Fairview Park Hospital Heliport (48GA), Dublin, Georgia. The airline transport rated pilot, flight nurse, and paramedic were not injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Air Evac EMS, Inc., as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 emergency medical services flight. Visual nighttime meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight destined for Macon, Georgia.

The pilot stated that the purpose of the flight was to pick-up a patient in Macon, Georgia, and transfer them to a hospital in Augusta, Georgia. He said he completed a preflight inspection and the engine start was normal. Once the preflight checklists were completed, the pilot applied power, and pulled the helicopter into a hover. He then turned the helicopter into the wind and prepared to make an "altitude or airspeed" takeoff. The pilot said, "I completed a power check with the torque reading of 74.8%. I then used about 86% torque to accomplish the altitude over airspeed takeoff to clear obstacles. As I started to accelerate forward and gain climb-out airspeed, a loud report was heard from the engine deck area followed by an announcement/question from the flight nurse, 'What was that bang?'" The engine then made a "clicking" noise that sounded like paper on fan blades. The pilot said the helicopter immediately began to descend and hit the ground and bounced. It translated to the right (direction of travel), before it came to rest upright. The pilot rolled the throttle to idle and shutdown the engine.

A postaccident examination of the helicopter revealed the vertical fin was struck and separated by contact with the main rotor blades and the skids were spread. The pilot's wind-screen was broken and the stinger and a portion of the tail rotor fairing had separated from the helicopter. Fuel samples taken from the helicopter were absent of debris and water, and there were no obvious signs of foreign debris in the engine intake area.

The helicopter was retained for further examination.

The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land; rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane and rotorcraft-helicopter. He was also a certified flight instructor for airplane single and multiengine land, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane and rotorcraft-helicopter. The pilot reported a total of 9,160 hours, of which, 206 were in the same make/model as the accident helicopter. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical was issued on May 8, 2018, without limitations or waivers.

At 0335, weather at the W H 'Bud' Barron Airport (DBN), Dublin, Georgia, located about 3 miles northwest of the accident site, was reported as wind from 290° at 5 knots, visibility 10 miles and clear skies. The temperature was 12° C and the dewpoint was 8° C.