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N5205C accident description

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Tail numberN5205C
Accident dateFebruary 24, 2009
Aircraft typeHughes 369F
LocationMoyock, NC
Near 36.455556 N, -76.206389 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On February 24, 2009, about 1330 eastern standard time, a Hughes 369F helicopter, N5205C, registered to EP Aviation LLC, and operated by Presidential Airways Incorporated, crashed into a ship board landing simulator, while practicing skid toe landings, at the Blackwater Airstrip (NC61), Moyock, North Carolina. The airline transport pilot, flight instructor (CFI) was killed and the commercial-rated student received minor injuries. The helicopter sustained substantial damage. The flight was operated as an instructional flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, and no flight plan was filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed (VMC) at the time of the accident. The flight departed from Elizabeth City Regional Airport (ECG), Elizabeth City, North Carolina, about 1230 the same day.

According to the student, they departed ECG after lunch for the afternoon portion of training. They arrived at the hangar at NC61 and the ground crew at Presidential Airways repositioned the "Little Bird" docking cart. The pilots practiced the toe landings and then single skid landings to both sides. The CFI demonstrated one landing to each side and then the student performed three to four landings on each side. At the completion of these practice landings they repositioned to the conexes to practice the same toe landings. At the completion of those practice landings, they proceeded to the ship simulators, which were constructed of conexes.

The student pilot stated that the CFI did a circling pattern around the simulators to make sure they were clear. Then he started an approach to the tip rail. When they got close to touching down, the student leaned forward and looked at the toe of the skid and saw it was under the top rail. He went to reach up and tell the CFI, but the helicopter flipped. When the helicopter settled, the engine was still running. The student went to shut it off and found the throttle was at idle, and he rolled it the rest of the way to the off position. The student pilot released his restraint and tried to get the CFI to respond, but he did not. He pulled the CFI from the helicopter and got him to the ground where paramedics were waiting.

Witnesses in the local area who observed the helicopter landing on the conex stated that they believed that the helicopter got one or both skids stuck on the railings of the conex and then flipped over.

Examination of the helicopter by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found it inverted in the stairwell of the second level of the conex. The top rail of the upper conex was broken and hanging down from its original location. Railings on the second level were observed impact damaged and bowed downward in the middle. The helicopter was recovered and transported to a Presidential Airways hangar for further examination.

The FAA inspector found the main rotor blades broken and partially separated. The tail boom sustained substantial damage and the tail rotor blades were partially separated. According to the FAA inspector, no preimpact failures or malfunctions of the airframe or engine were identified that would have prevented normal operation.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.