Plane crash map Locate crash sites, wreckage and more

N8353F accident description

Nevada map... Nevada list
Crash location 39.283333°N, 113.700000°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Ely, NV
39.247439°N, 114.888630°W
63.6 miles away
Tail number N8353F
Accident date 23 Jan 2001
Aircraft type Hughes 369D
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On January 23, 2001, approximately 0745 Pacific standard time, a Hughes 369D single-engine helicopter, N8353F, impacted terrain during an autorotation landing following a loss of engine power while in cruise flight near Ely, Nevada. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Hawkins & Powers Aviation, Inc., Greybull, Wyoming, under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 as a business flight. The helicopter sustained substantial damage, and the commercial pilot and three passengers were not injured. The business flight departed Ely about 0730, and was destined for private property near Ely. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a company flight plan had been filed.

According to the pilot's written statement, the torque gauge was showing a "bounce" in its reading. The pilot notified a company mechanic, who elected to replace the torque gauge with a new one. The mechanic replaced the torque gauge and bled the system at the torque gauge bleed valve behind the instrument panel. He removed the radio located below the torque gauge to facilitate the work. He tested the system, noted no leaks, and replaced the radio.

The flight departed to ferry company personnel to a job site. Approximately 1.5 miles from the planned destination, the pilot noticed the needle "bounce" on the torque gauge, and illumination of the "engine chip" caution light. The pilot notified his passengers and told them that they would be landing early. Approximately 30 seconds after noticing the chip light, at an elevation of 9,500 feet, the engine lost power. The pilot entered an autorotation and attempted to land at the base of mountains at the 7,500-foot level. The pilot stated the helicopter touched down "very smooth and light;" however, during the landing roll, the main rotor blades flexed down and severed the tail boom.

According to the operator, the bleed valve is located in a confined area behind the instrument panel. When the mechanic conducted the system bleed, and reinstalled the radio, he inadvertently hit the bleed valve. Oil seeped out of the engine through the bleed valve and down behind the instrument console. Examination of the engine after the accident revealed it had no oil, and metal covered the upper chip detector. The bottom of the helicopter was coated with oil.

NTSB Probable Cause

The mechanic's inadvertent activation of the bleed valve, which resulted in a loss of engine oil and loss of engine power while in cruise flight.

© 2009-2020 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.