UND General Info | UND Medical School | UND Discussion | Other Sites | Look Back
Data Source: NTSB AVIATION ACCIDENT/INCIDENT DATABASE Report Number: CHI98LA021 Local Date: 10/14/1997 Local Time: 21:26 CDT State: ND City: GRAND FORKS Airport Name: Airport Id: Event Type: ACCIDENT Injury Severity: NONE Report Status: FINAL Mid Air Collision: NO
Category of Operation: GENERAL AVIATION Aircraft Type: HELICOPTER Aircraft Damage: SUBSTANTIAL Phase of Flight: 560 APPROACH Aircraft Make/Model: Operator Doing Business As: Operator Name: Operator Code: Operator: Owner Name: UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA
THE PILOT STATED HE KNEW HE WAS LOW ON FUEL DURING THE LAST LEG OF A CROSS COUNTRY FLIGHT. THE LOW FUEL LIGHT ILLUMINATED WHEN HE WAS 9.5 MILES FROM THE DESTINATION AIRPORT. THE PILOT ELECTED TO MAKE A PRECAUTIONARY LANDING. THE LIGHT WENT OFF DURING THE LANDING DESCENT. THE PILOT CONTINUED THE DESCENT AT WHICH TIME HE FELT A YAW TO THE RIGHT. SUSPECTING AN ENGINE FAILURE, HE INITIATED A "HOVERING AUTOROTATION" ONLY TO DISCOVER HE STILL HAD ENGINE POWER. HE REPORTED HE REGAINED CONTROL OF THE HELICOPTER AN D CONTINUED THE LANDING. IT WAS LATER DETERMINED THAT THE HELICOPTER CONTACTED AN ELECTRICAL WIRE WHICH RAN ACROSS A NEARBY ROAD.
Occurrence #: 1 220 IN FLIGHT COLLISION WITH OBJECT Phase of Operation: 560 APPROACH Findings Subject - Modifier - Personnel Cause/Factor 1b. 24001(S) - 3115(M) - 4000(P) Cause PREFLIGHT PLANNING/PREPARATION - INADEQUATE - PILOT IN COMMAND 2a. 17001(S) - 1161(M) FLUID, FUEL - LOW LEVEL 2b. 24546(S) - 3118(M) - 4000(P) Factor PRECAUTIONARY LANDING - INITIATED - PILOT IN COMMAND 3a. 20100(S) - 2305(M) Factor LIGHT CONDITION - DARK NIGHT 4a. 20200(S) - 2524(M) Factor OBJECT - WIRE, TRANSMISSION 4b. 24021(S) - 3131(M) - 4000(P) Cause VISUAL LOOKOUT - NOT POSSIBLE - PILOT IN COMMAND
THE PILOT'S INADEQUATE PREFLIGHT PLANNING WHICH RESULTED IN A LOW FUEL STATE, AND HIS INABILITY TO SEE THE WIRE WHICH THE HELICOPTER CONTACTED. FACTORS ASSOCIATED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE THE PRECAUTIONARY LANDING, THE DARK NIGHT CONDITIONS, AND THE WIRE WHICH WAS CONTACTED.
Number of Seats: 2 Aircraft Use: INSTRUCTIONAL Type of Operation: 14 CFR 91 Domestic/International: Passenger/Cargo: Registration Number: 557DC Air Carrier Operating Certificates: Aircraft Fire: NONE Injuries Fatal Serious Minor None Crew 0 0 0 1 Pass 0 0 0 0 Other 0 0 0 0 Invlvd 0 0 0 1 Landing Gear: SKID Certificated Maximum Gross Weight: 2050 Engine Make: LYCOMING Engine Model: IO-360-D1A Number of Engines: 1 Engine Type: RECIPROCATING-CARBURETOR
Basic Weather Conditions: VISUAL METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS (VMC) Wind Direction (deg): 180 Wind Speed (knots): 6 Visibility (sm): 10 Visibility RVR (ft): 0 Visibility RVV (sm): 0 Cloud Height Above Ground Level (ft): 0 Visibility Restrictions: NONE Precipitation Type: NONE Light Condition: NIGHT (DARK) Departure Airport Id: PKD Departure City: PARK RAPIDS Departure State: MN Destination Airport Id: GFK Destination City: Destination State: Flight Plan Filed: NONE ATC Clearance: NONE VFR Approach/Landing: PRECAUTIONARY LANDING Event Location: OFF AIRPORT/AIRSTRIP
Certificates: PRIVATE Ratings: Plane: SINGLE ENGINE LAND Non-Plane: HELICOPTER Instrument: AIRPLANE Had Current BFR: YES Months Since Last BFR: 2 Medical Certificate: CLASS 1 Medical Certificate Validity: VALID MEDICAL-NO WAIVERS/LIMITATIONS Flight Time (Hours) Total : 219 Last 24 Hrs : 3 Make/Model : 101 Last 30 Days: 11 Instrument : 3 Last 90 Days: 61 Multi-Engine: 0 Rotorcraft : 104
NTSB Identification: CHI98LA021. The docket is stored in the (offline) NTSB Imaging System.
Accident occurred OCT-14-97 at GRAND FORKS, ND
Aircraft: Schweizer 269C, registration: N557DC
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.
The pilot stated he knew he was low on fuel during the last leg of a cross
country flight. The low fuel light illuminated when he was 9.5 miles from the
destination airport. The pilot elected to make a precautionary landing. The
light went off during the landing descent. The pilot continued the descent at
which time he felt a yaw to the right. Suspecting an engine failure, he
initiated a "hovering autorotation" only to discover he still had engine power.
He reported he regained control of the helicopter and continued the landing. It
was later determined that the helicopter contacted an electrical wire which ran
across a nearby road.
the pilot's inadequate preflight planning which resulted in a low fuel state, and his inability to see the wire which the helicopter contacted. Factors associated to the accident were the precautionary landing, the dark night conditions, and the wire which was contacted.
On October 14, 1997, at 2126 central daylight time, a Schweizer 269C, N557DC, operated by the University of North Dakota, and flown by a private pilot collided with a utility pole while making a precautionary landing in Grand Forks, North Dakota, while on a solo training flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The helicopter was substantially damaged and the pilot was not injured. The solo instructional flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from Park Rapids, Minnesota, at 2000.
The pilot reported the accident occurred on the last leg of a cross country flight. He said he was 9.5 miles from his destination of Grand Forks when the low fuel warning light came on. He reported that he knew he was low on fuel according to the fuel gauge prior to the light coming. He declared an emergency with the Air Traffic Control Facility at Grand Forks, stating that he was going to land close to Highway 81. The pilot reported that the warning light went off as he initiated a descent. He reported that he informed the controller of the situation and that he was still intending on making an off airport landing.
The pilot reported he continued toward the highway looking for a driveway on which to land. He turned the helicopter into the wind and started "descending again at a shallow angle when the aircraft had a sudden yaw to the right." He reported that he suspected an engine failure so he initiated a hovering autorotation. When he pulled the collective, he heard the engine "rev-up" and the helicopter climbed. He realized he still had engine power so he "got control of the aircraft and landed it." It was after the landing that a local resident informed the pilot that he contacted an electrical wire which ran across the nearby road.
Source: National Transportation Safety Board