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Helicopter crashes at Lumberton airport

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Helicopter crashes at Lumberton airport

Old 8th Sep 2017, 19:14
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Helicopter crashes at Lumberton airport

Helicopter crashes at Lumberton airport

Helicopter crash at Burlington County airport

Last edited by Whimlew; 8th Sep 2017 at 20:29.
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Old 8th Sep 2017, 22:21
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According to archived radio traffic from Burlington County Fire and EMS, the helicopter was in a hover with a mechanical problem waiting for the fire department to arrive. They attempted a landing, ended up in flames. One occupant was declared dead at the hospital, the other at the scene.

From one of the links posted above:

Troy Gentry killed in Lumberton helicopter crash

Courier-Post Published 1:21 p.m. ET Sept. 8, 2017 | Updated 4:10 p.m. ET Sept. 8, 2017

LUMBERTON - One half of a popular country music duo was killed in a helicopter crash here this afternoon.

Troy Gentry, of the band Montgomery Gentry, died when the helicopter he was in crashed at the Flying W Airport, the band confirmed through social media Friday afternoon.

The aircraft went down around 12:37 p.m. Friday. The band had been set to perform this evening at the airport, which also houses a resort.
Another man was killed in the crash, officials said. His identity has not yet been released.

One victim died at the scene and the second man had to be extricated from the wreckage. He was taken to Virtua Marlton Hospital, where he later died, according to a spokesman for the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office.
From the NTSB's Twitter feed:

NTSB is investigating today’s accident in Lumberton, NJ involving a Schweitzer [sic] H269.
An outfit called Helicopter Flight Services at Flying W Airport advertises:

Become a Helicopter Pilot in one of Our Schweizer Helicopters and enjoy beautiful views like this.
Get directions to the Flying W and come and visit our hanger [sic] and facilities, both at the school and at the Airport.
Medford, New Jersey Helicopter Flight Services - Helicopter Flight Training, Helicopter Sight Seeing Tours, Aerial Photography
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Old 10th Sep 2017, 14:29
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Below is a link to the EMS audio confirming that the helicopter was still hovering on the airport grounds when they arrived.

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Old 11th Sep 2017, 04:19
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Hmm, many years ago during my ab initio training in a H 300 with an instructor, one of the skid oleos let go, I guess it may have been both, on one side, allowing the skid to swing down. Long time ago now but I do remember getting out of the thing and holding the skid back in position while the instructor landed the machine. Should of turned me off of helicopters right then I suppose, but didn't.

R.I.P. to the victims.
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Old 11th Sep 2017, 06:08
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What Could this be...Gentry Helicopter Accident in US

A pilot and passenger, a fairly well known member of a country music duo, Montgomery Gentry are killed in the crash of a Hughes 300 or Schweizer 300. The odd thing is that they declared an emergency with some kind of malfunction and said they were hovering awaiting the arrival of emergency services. Emergency services did arrive just as the machine went down off the end of a runway in the eastern US.

Looking for comments on what kind of malfunction would it have been where the landing was so much worse than hovering that a pilot would choose to wait for emergency crews in a hover.

It seems that eventually it went in right side up, flipped over, and that was it. It looks like there is no rotational damage on the main rotor blades.

Story here, other video on YouTube.
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Old 11th Sep 2017, 06:38
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the throttle was hung wide open.he knew he was going to have to put it down and he wanted to wait for the emergency team to get there in case there where injury's
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Old 11th Sep 2017, 13:14
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Why not just shutdown the engine?
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Old 11th Sep 2017, 13:42
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Pprune time.....

I'm guessing one of the oleo's / skids broke and he couldn't do a level landing.
Either he ran out of fuel or tried to land upright but failed. Cab rolled, blades hit and - game over.

Several options available:

Land with duff skid up slope and shut throtors down slowly.
Use sandbags under the duff skids.
Attempt to fix duff skids whilst in the hover.
Extricate any surplus crew to minimise injured parties, prior to landing.

What else could have gone wrong - yet gave the pilot time to hover and wait for assistance?


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Old 11th Sep 2017, 15:47
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Yes, plenty of options for an undercarriage failure but I was responding to chad's assertion that it was just a stuck throttle
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Old 11th Sep 2017, 16:16
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Copied that.

Presumably then the throttle was wide open and the pilot couldn't shut it down?
What about the fuel shut off valve?
What about an engineer climbing aboard and shutting it down at the engine?
What about waiting to run out of fuel.
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Old 11th Sep 2017, 16:45
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Two blades can be seen. They don't seem to have come in contact with anything at the leading edge. One is fractured upwards near the hub, likely from rollover.

It seems he was able to hover, but not move forward. And then, couldn't hover. Does stuck throttle affect the up down on the collective? Through the correlator?
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Old 11th Sep 2017, 17:09
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I would have thought that all the controls ( aerodynamic ) must have been working in order to hover . I guess that if duals were fitted it would be difficult to get the pax out without interfering with them ...if not he could have just let the pax out before trying to land ? Very strange and a tragic end . As TC has said many people have landed with broken undercarriage / wheels etc by landing on tyres but it appears this was not mentioned and how would they know there was an oleo problem ( if there was one ?) ....i am not sure of any change in the behaviour even if they were faulty .
( I have had G R in one many years ago but that needs contact with the ground ) Baffling ....
Lastly if the throttle was stuck how would they know ? Maybe on approach , but that would mean overspeed and you would then set up for a long and low approach i guess ? Once in the hover just do an engine shut down by pulling the fuel ...that HAS to work and in a 1ft hover you would just need to keep it straight with pedals .... It HAS to be something else ...
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Old 11th Sep 2017, 22:42
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Now a report a couple of hours ago saying the information conveyed by the pilot was that he was having difficulty controlling RPM, and that he had initiated an autorotation that was short of the runway, which ended up as it did.

I take it that means he was having difficulty with RMP surging, or keeping the rotor in the green. Yet he could hover.

Possible developing seizure of the main transmission. My training was that if the transmission was seizing, not to roll the power off for the auto. If you do, the blades stop.

Troy Gentry's Fatal Helicopter Ride Was 'Impromptu'
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Old 13th Sep 2017, 19:26
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Preliminary report from the NTSB:

NTSB Identification: ERA17FA317
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 08, 2017 in Medford, NJ
Aircraft: SCHWEIZER 269C, registration: N204HF
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 8, 2017, about 1300 eastern daylight time, a Schweizer 269C-1 helicopter, N204HF, operated by Helicopter Flight Services, was substantially damaged during collision with terrain while performing a forced landing to Runway 01 at Flying W Airport (N14), Medford, New Jersey. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the chief flight instructor for the operator, the purpose of the flight was to provide an orientation/pleasure flight to the passenger who was scheduled to perform in a concert on the airport later that evening.

Several minutes after takeoff, the pilot reported over the airport UNICOM frequency that he was unable to control engine rpm with throttle inputs. He reported he could "roll" the twist-grip, but that there was no corresponding change in engine rpm when he did so.

The company flight instructor and another certificated helicopter flight instructor were monitoring the frequency and engaged the pilot in conversation about potential courses of action to affect the subsequent landing. Options discussed included a shallow approach to a run-on landing, or a power-off, autorotational descent to landing. The pilot elected to stop the engine and perform an autorotation, which was a familiar procedure he had performed numerous times in the past. Prior to entering the autorotation, the pilot was advised to initiate the maneuver over the runway.

The company flight instructor reported that the helicopter entered the autorotation about 950 ft above ground level, and that the helicopter was quiet during its descent "because the engine was off." During the descent, the rotor rpm decayed to the point where the instructor could see the individual rotor blades. The helicopter descended from view prior to reaching the runway threshold and the sounds of impact were heard. Both instructors reported that a high-pitched "whine" could be heard from the helicopter during the latter portion of the descent.

A video forwarded by local police showed the helicopter south of the runway as it entered what appeared to be a descent profile consistent with an autorotation. Toward the end of the video, the descent profile became more vertical and the rate of descent increased before the helicopter descended out of view. No sound could be heard from the helicopter.

The pilot held commercial and instructor pilot certificates, each with ratings for rotorcraft-helicopter and instrument helicopter. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued April 12, 2017.

Excerpts of the pilot's logbook revealed he had logged 480.9 total hours of flight experience. It was estimated that he had accrued over 300 total hours of flight experience in the accident helicopter make and model. The last entry logged was for 1.2 hours in the accident helicopter on the day of the accident.

The company training records indicated the pilot had received the training required by the operator for employment as a flight instructor, and his last airman competency check was completed satisfactorily on April 19, 2017 in the accident helicopter.

According to FAA records, the helicopter was manufactured in 2000 and had accrued approximately 7,900 total aircraft hours. Its most recent 100-hour inspection was completed August 17, 2017 at 7,884 total aircraft hours.

At 1254, the weather recorded at South Jersey Regional Airport (VAY), 2 miles west of N14, included clear skies and wind from 260° at 13 knots gusting to 18 knots. The temperature was 21°C, and the dew point was 9°C. The altimeter setting was 30.13 inches of mercury. Airmen's Meteorological Information (AIRMET) Sierra for instrument meteorological conditions and mountain obscurations was in effect for the area surrounding the accident site at the time of the accident.

The wreckage was examined at the accident site, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The initial ground scar was about 10 ft prior to the main wreckage, which was about 220 ft prior to the threshold of runway 01 and aligned with the runway.

The cockpit was significantly deformed by impact damage, and the tailboom was separated at the fuselage. The engine and main transmission remained mounted in the airframe, and all main rotor blades were secured in their respective grips, which remained attached to the main rotor head and mast. The pitch-change link for the yellow rotor blade was fractured, with fracture signatures consistent with overstress. Each of the three blades was bent significantly at its respective blade root. The blades showed little to no damage along their respective spans toward the blade tips, which was consistent with low rotor rpm at ground contact.

Flight control continuity was established from the individual flight controls, through breaks, to the main rotor head and tail rotor. Drivetrain continuity was also established to the main and tail rotors.

The engine was rotated by hand at the cooling fan, and continuity was confirmed from the powertrain through the valvetrain, to the accessory section. Compression was confirmed on all cylinders using the thumb method. The magnetos were removed, actuated with a drill, and spark was produced at all terminal leads. Borescope examination of each cylinder revealed signatures consistent with normal wear, with no anomalies noted.

The carburetor was separated from the engine, displayed impact damage, and was found near the initial ground scar. The throttle and mixture arms were actuated by hand and moved smoothly through their respective ranges. The filter screen was removed, and was absent of debris. The carburetor contained fuel which appeared absent of water and debris.

The collective control and jackshaft assembly as well as the associated throttle cable, push-pull tube, and bellcrank assemblies were retained for further examination at the NTSB Materials Laboratory.
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Old 14th Sep 2017, 08:23
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So, either the aircraft wasn't rigged properly for autorotation or he let the Nr decay horribly - perhaps he was dropping short and tried to stretch the glide. Very sad.
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Old 14th Sep 2017, 14:25
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I must be missing something here .....if you had worries about the throttle you would definitely not sit in a hover waiting . I also see no reason to do an auto . Surely a fairly fast approach and then bleed speed off for a run on would be the simplest as if the engine quit at any time you could continue your flare and auto the last bit . I personally would never shut down a running engine unless i absolutely had to .
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Old 14th Sep 2017, 14:40
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*Conjecture warning*

IF the throttle is jammed open, presumably in a piston engine helo the Nr is now dangerously high in an attempt to stay S and L - yes?
So he flies slow or hovers to soak up the Nr, or switches the engine off - yes?

It seems there was a discussion along these lines with ATC/FI.

So he apparently opts for an EOL (not an auto as some state - an auto would drive the Nr off the clock and damage the blades - because he can't control revs). So he enters an EOL state and revs are now totally under his control.

Whatever happened next - 2/3rds of the way down the descent is anyone's guess, but like CRAB says - he must have reduced the Nr below that which is recoverable and the rest is history.
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Old 14th Sep 2017, 15:11
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I must be missing something here .....if you had worries about the throttle you would definitely not sit in a hover waiting . I also see no reason to do an auto . Surely a fairly fast approach and then bleed speed off for a run on would be the simplest as if the engine quit at any time you could continue your flare and auto the last bit . I personally would never shut down a running engine unless i absolutely had to .
I had a throttle stuck fully wide open in the cruise on an Enstrom, I decided I did not want to blow my engine up as rpms would increase every time I reduced pitch for an approach, so I chose to pull the fuel shut off valve and auto her down.

Last edited by chopjock; 14th Sep 2017 at 16:06.
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Old 14th Sep 2017, 15:41
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So he apparently opts for an EOL (not an auto as some state - an auto would drive the Nr off the clock and damage the blades - because he can't control revs). So he enters an EOL state and revs are now totally under his control
Since when did an 'auto' require the engine to be running? Just because that is the case for training doesn't mean that there is a difference between saying EOL and an Autorotation
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Old 15th Sep 2017, 00:08
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I agree about throttle full open ...get into perfect place for autorotation and shut down engine is probably safer than risking overspeeding NR .
An autorotation is exactly the same with or without engine TC and don't try and say otherwise ! There is no connect between engine and drive . I think you are confusing EOL which is specifically referring to the bit at the bottom when you hit terra firma and autorotation which is purely the function of the relative airspeed driving the blades . ( you are so keen to pick us all up on not knowing the difference between VRS , IVRS,
LTE & LTA etc I thought you would appreciate being corrected!!)
The big difference without an engine is in your head when you know you have no room for error at the bottom !!
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