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N820DF accident description

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Crash location 21.222778°N, 157.153333°W
Nearest city Molokai, HI
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Tail number N820DF
Accident date 16 Oct 2017
Aircraft type Robinson Helicopter R44
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On October 16, 2017, about 1918 Hawaiian standard time, a Robinson Helicopter R44, N820DF, impacted the waters off the island of Molokai, Hawaii. The flight instructor and commercial pilot receiving instruction are missing and presumed to be fatally injured. Debris from the helicopter was observed floating on the water northwest of the shores of Molokai. The helicopter was registered to Stasys Aviation Leasing LLC., and operated by Hawaii Pacific Aviation doing business as Mauna Loa Helicopters under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions existed in the area at the time of the accident, and the flight was operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (PHNL) at an undetermined time.

Preliminary information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration indicated that Air Traffic Control cleared the flight for a practice RNAV (GPS)-B instrument approach to the Molokai Airport and provided instructions for the missed approach procedure which included instructions to climb to 4,000 feet and maintain a heading of 040 degrees. Following completion of the instrument approach and subsequent execution of the missed approach, the flight reestablished radio contact with Air Traffic Control. The controller informed the flight that radar contact was identified and subsequently issued a clearance to PHNL with instructions to fly a heading of 260 degrees and ascend to an altitude of 4,000 feet. Shortly after, the controller issued a heading change to 240 degrees to intercept the Victor 8 airway, of which the flight verified. Shortly after, the controller noticed the flight had descended to 3,600 feet before radar and radio communication with the accident helicopter was lost.

A representative from the United States Coast Guard reported that after the helicopter was reported missing, an air unit located debris and a red chemlight floating in the ocean water northwest of Molokai. The following day, another air unit from Maui Fire Department located an uninflated life jacket along the northwestern shoreline of Molokai. The search for the helicopter was suspended on the evening of October 19, 2017.

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