Aircraft Incident/Accident Report

Newberry, South Carolina 29108
Tuesady, July 13, 2004 5:32 EDT

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NTSB Narrative Summary Released at Completion of Accident
A single-engine emergency medical services (EMS) helicopter was destroyed after impacting trees in a national forest about 0532 eastern daylight time. Night visual meteorological conditions with mist and light fog prevailed in the area of the accident site. The flight crew was contacted about 0452 to determine if they could accept the mission. The pilot performed a weather check and accepted the mission about 0455. He departed about 0502. The helicopter arrived at the accident scene and landed on the interstate highway near a rest stop about 0523. The helicopter departed the scene about 10 minutes later, flying toward the national forest located north of the interstate. A witness reported that the helicopter made no abrupt maneuvers and that the engine "didn't sound like it was missing, sputtering, or any other kind of power loss." He reported that the helicopter was straight and level then it "pitched forward to go forward." He reported the helicopter was "flying level" as it descended into the trees. He reported that the helicopter's searchlight was on and that fog and mist were visible at treetop level. Postaccident inspection of the helicopter revealed no preexisting anomalies that could be associated with a pre-impact condition. Download of the engine's electronic control unit nonvolatile memory indicated that the engine was operating at 98 percent Ng when it impacted the trees. Three other EMS helicopter operators had turned down the mission, including one who had attempted it but had to return because of fog conditions. However, the accident pilot was not informed that other pilots had declined the mission because of fog.
NTSB Probable Cause Narrative
The pilot's failure to maintain terrain clearance as a result of fog conditions. A contributing factor was inadequate weather and dispatch information relayed to the pilot.
Event Information
Type of EventAccident 
Event Date7/13/2004 
Event Day of the WeekTuesday 
Time of Event532 
Event Time ZoneEastern Daylight Time 
Event CityNewberry 
Event Country-- 
Zipcode of the event site29108 
Event Date Year2004 
Event Date Month
MidAir Collision IndicatorNo 
On Ground Collision occurred ?No 
Event Location Latitude342501N 
Event Location Longitude0814200W 
Event Location Airport-- 
Event Location Nearest Airport ID-- 
Indicates whether the acc/inc occurred off or on an airportOff Airport/Airstrip 
Distance from airport in statute miles-- 
Degrees magnetic from airport-- 
Airport Elevation-- 
Weather Briefing Completeness-- 
Investigator's weather sourceWeather Observation Facility 
Time of the weather observation456 Eastern Daylight Time 
Direction of event from weather observation facility (degrees)210 
Weather Observation Facility IDGRD 
Elevation of weather observation facility631 
Distance of event from weather observation facility (units?)24 
Time Zone of the weather observationEDT 
Lighting ConditionsNight 
Lowest Ceiling Height-- 
Lowest Non-Ceiling Height-- 
Sky/Lowest/Cloud ConditionsClear 
Sky Condition for Lowest Ceiling-- 
Visibility Runway Visual Range (Feet)-- 
Visibility Runway Visual Value (Statute Miles)-- 
Visibility (Statute Miles)
Air Temperature at event time (in degrees celsius)22 
Dew Point at event time (in degress fahrenheit)21 
Wind Direction (degrees magnetic)-- 
Variable Wind Indicator-- 
Wind Speed (knots)-- 
Wind Velocity Indicator Calm 
Wind Gust IndicatorNot Gusting 
Wind Gust (knots) -- 
Altimeter Setting at event time (in. Hg) 29.94 
Density Altitude (feet)-- 
Intensity of Precipitation-- 
METAR weather report GRD: METAR KGRD 130656Z AUTO 00000KT 6SM BR CLR 
Event Highest InjuryFatal 
On Ground, Fatal Injuries-- 
On Ground, Minor Injuries-- 
On Ground, Serious Injuries-- 
Injury Total Fatal
Injury Total Minor-- 
Injury Total None-- 
Injury Total Serious-- 
Injury Total All
Investigating AgencyNTSB 
NTSB Docket Number (internal use)19445 
NTSB Notification SourceFAA  
NTSB Notification DateJul 13 2004 12:00AM 
NTSB Notification Time700 
Fiche Number and/or location -used to find docket informationDMS 
Date of most recent change to recordJan 26 2006 12:42PM 
User who most recently changed recordNTSB\JOHB  
Basic weather conditionsVisual Meteorological Cond 
FAA District OfficeFAA-Columbia FSDO 
Aircraft Involved
Aircraft #1
Aircraft Registration NumberN503MT 
NTSB NumberCHI04MA182 
Missing Aircraft Indicator-- 
Federal Aviation Reg. PartPart 135: Air Taxi & Commuter 
Type of Flight Plan filedNone 
Flight plan Was Activated?No 
Aircraft FireGround 
Aircraft ExplosionGround 
Aircraft Manufacturer's Full NameBell 
Aircraft Model407 
Aircraft Series Identifier-- 
Aircraft Serial Number53498 
Certified Max Gross Weight5250 
Aircraft CategoryHelicopter 
Aircraft Registration Class-- 
Aircraft is a homebuilt?No 
Flight Crew Seats-- 
Cabin Crew Seats-- 
Passenger Seats-- 
Total number of seats on the aircraft
Number of Engines
Fixed gear or retractable gearFixed 
Aircraft, Type of Last InspectionAAIP 
Date of Last InspectionJul 1 2004 12:00AM 
Airframe hours since last inspection
Airframe Hours710.6 
ELT InstalledYes 
ELT ActivatedNo 
ELT Aided Location of Event SiteNo 
ELT Type-- 
Aircraft Owner NameAVN AIR LLC 
Aircraft Owner Street Address4 North Drive 
Aircraft Owner CityHunt Valley 
Aircraft Owner StateMD 
Aircraft Owner CountryUSA  
Aircraft Owner Zipcode21030 
Operator is an individual?No 
Operator NameMed-Trans Corp. 
Operator Same as Owner?No 
Operator Is Doing Business As-- 
Operator Address Same as Owner?No 
Operator Street Address2301 University Dr. 
Operator CityBismarck 
Operator StateND 
Operator CountryUSA  
Operator Zip code58504 
Operator CodeM3XA 
Owner has at least one certificate-- 
Other Operator of large aircraft?-- 
Certified for Part 133 or 137 Operation-- 
Operator Certificate Number-- 
Indicates whether an air carrier operation was scheduled or notNon-scheduled 
Indicates Domestic or International FlightDomestic 
Operator carrying Pax/Cargo/MailPassenger Only 
Type of Flying (Per_Bus / Primary)-- 
Second Pilot on BoardNo 
Departure Point Same as EventNo 
Departure Airport Code-- 
Departure CitySpartansburg 
Departure StateSC 
Departure CountryUSA 
Departure Time532 
Departure Time ZoneEDT 
Destination Same as Local Flt-- 
Destination Airport Code-- 
Destination CitySpartansburg 
Destination StateSC 
Destination CountryUSA 
Specific Phase of FlightTakeoff - initial climb 
Report sent to ICAO?Yes 
Evacuation occurredNo 
Date of most recent change to recordJan 13 2006 10:37AM 
User who most recently changed recordDINC  
Since inspection or accidentTime of Accident 
Event Location Runway Number and LocationNA 
Runway Length-- 
Runway Width-- 
Sight Seeing flightNo 
Air Medical FlightYes 
Medical Flight--