Aircraft Accident/Incident Report

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

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 Event Accident
Event Date 7/13/2004
Event Day of the Week Tuesday
Time of Event 532
Event Time Zone Eastern Daylight Time
Event City Newberry
Event Country --
Zipcode of the event site 29108
Event Date Year 2004
Event Date Month 7
MidAir Collision Indicator No
On Ground Collision occurred ? No
Event Location Latitude 342501N
Event Location Longitude 0814200W
Event Location Airport --
Event Location Nearest Airport ID --
Indicates whether the acc/inc occurred off or on an airport Off Airport/Airstrip
Distance from airport in statute miles --
Degrees magnetic from airport --
Airport Elevation --
Weather Briefing Completeness --
Investigator's weather source Weather Observation Facility
Time of the weather observation 456 Eastern Daylight Time
Direction of event from weather observation facility (degrees) 210
Weather Observation Facility ID GRD
Elevation of weather observation facility 631
Distance of event from weather observation facility (units?) 24
Time Zone of the weather observation EDT
Lighting Conditions Night
Lowest Ceiling Height --
Lowest Non-Ceiling Height --
Sky/Lowest/Cloud Conditions Clear
Sky Condition for Lowest Ceiling --
Visibility Runway Visual Range (Feet) --
Visibility Runway Visual Value (Statute Miles) --
Visibility (Statute Miles) 5
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 Indicator Not 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 Injury Fatal
On Ground, Fatal Injuries --
On Ground, Minor Injuries --
On Ground, Serious Injuries --
Injury Total Fatal 4
Injury Total Minor --
Injury Total None --
Injury Total Serious --
Injury Total All 4
Investigating Agency NTSB
NTSB Docket Number (internal use) 19445
NTSB Notification Source FAA
NTSB Notification Date Jul 13 2004 12:00AM
NTSB Notification Time 700
Fiche Number and/or location -used to find docket information DMS
Date of most recent change to record Jan 26 2006 12:42PM
User who most recently changed record NTSB\JOHB
Basic weather conditions Visual Meteorological Cond
FAA District Office FAA-Columbia FSDO

Aircraft Involved

Aircraft #1

Aircraft Registration Number N503MT
NTSB Number CHI04MA182
Missing Aircraft Indicator --
Federal Aviation Reg. Part Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Type of Flight Plan filed None
Flight plan Was Activated? No
Damage Destroyed
Aircraft Fire Ground
Aircraft Explosion Ground
Aircraft Manufacturer's Full Name Bell
Aircraft Model 407
Aircraft Series Identifier --
Aircraft Serial Number 53498
Certified Max Gross Weight 5250
Aircraft Category Helicopter
Aircraft Registration Class --
Aircraft is a homebuilt? No
Flight Crew Seats --
Cabin Crew Seats --
Passenger Seats --
Total number of seats on the aircraft 5
Number of Engines 1
Fixed gear or retractable gear Fixed
Aircraft, Type of Last Inspection AAIP
Date of Last Inspection Jul 1 2004 12:00AM
Airframe hours since last inspection 8
Airframe Hours 710.6
ELT Installed Yes
ELT Activated No
ELT Aided Location of Event Site No
ELT Type --
Aircraft Owner Name AVN AIR LLC
Aircraft Owner Street Address 4 North Drive
Aircraft Owner City Hunt Valley
Aircraft Owner State MD
Aircraft Owner Country USA
Aircraft Owner Zipcode 21030
Operator is an individual? No
Operator Name Med-Trans Corp.
Operator Same as Owner? No
Operator Is Doing Business As --
Operator Address Same as Owner? No
Operator Street Address 2301 University Dr.
Operator City Bismarck
Operator State ND
Operator Country USA
Operator Zip code 58504
Operator Code M3XA
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 not Non-scheduled
Indicates Domestic or International Flight Domestic
Operator carrying Pax/Cargo/Mail Passenger Only
Type of Flying (Per_Bus / Primary) --
Second Pilot on Board No
Departure Point Same as Event No
Departure Airport Code --
Departure City Spartansburg
Departure State SC
Departure Country USA
Departure Time 532
Departure Time Zone EDT
Destination Same as Local Flt --
Destination Airport Code --
Destination City Spartansburg
Destination State SC
Destination Country USA
Specific Phase of Flight Takeoff - initial climb
Report sent to ICAO? Yes
Evacuation occurred No
Date of most recent change to record Jan 13 2006 10:37AM
User who most recently changed record DINC
Since inspection or accident Time of Accident
Event Location Runway Number and Location NA
Runway Length --
Runway Width --
Sight Seeing flight No
Air Medical Flight Yes
Medical Flight --