Aircraft Accident/Incident Report

West Melbourne, Florida 32951
Thursday, July 15, 2010 16:00 EDT

NTSB Narrative Summary Released at Completion of Accident

During takeoff, while the helicopter was about 80 to 100 feet above the ground, the clutch caution light illuminated. The light stayed lit only long enough for the pilot to notice it, and then it turned off. The clutch light illuminated once again, and the pilot felt the helicopter vibrate. The pilot initiated a descent and heard a loud “pop and grinding noise” from the rear of the helicopter as he lowered the collective. The pilot autorotated and impacted the ground in a nose-low attitude. A postaccident examination of the drive system found that the grooves in the upper sheave were worn beyond serviceable limits. The helicopter’s maintenance manual requires inspection of the sheaves prior to installation of the drive belts. An entry in the logbook states that the drive belts were removed and replaced 22.9 hours prior to the accident. Given the level of wear in the upper sheave grooves, it is unlikely that maintenance personnel inspected the sheave prior to drive belt installation.

NTSB Probable Cause Narrative

Separation of the main rotor drive belts due to maintenance personnel’s failure to adequately inspect the upper drive sheave prior to installing the belts.

Event Information

Type of Event Accident
Event Date 7/15/2010
Event Day of the Week Thursday
Time of Event 1600
Event Time Zone Eastern Daylight Time
Event City West Melbourne
Event State FLORIDA
Event Country --
Zipcode of the event site 32951
Event Date Year 2010
Event Date Month 7
MidAir Collision Indicator No
On Ground Collision occurred ? No
Event Location Latitude 280532N
Event Location Longitude 0804652W
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 1553 Eastern Daylight Time
Direction of event from weather observation facility (degrees) --
Weather Observation Facility ID MLB
Elevation of weather observation facility 8
Distance of event from weather observation facility (units?) 15
Time Zone of the weather observation EDT
Lighting Conditions Day
Lowest Ceiling Height --
Lowest Non-Ceiling Height --
Sky/Lowest/Cloud Conditions Clear
Sky Condition for Lowest Ceiling None
Visibility Runway Visual Range (Feet) --
Visibility Runway Visual Value (Statute Miles) --
Visibility (Statute Miles) 10
Air Temperature at event time (in degrees celsius) 32
Dew Point at event time (in degress fahrenheit) 23
Wind Direction (degrees magnetic) 130
Variable Wind Indicator Wind direction could be determined
Wind Speed (knots) 15
Wind Velocity Indicator --
Wind Gust Indicator Gusting
Wind Gust (knots) 21
Altimeter Setting at event time (in. Hg) 30.04
Density Altitude (feet) --
Intensity of Precipitation --
METAR weather report --
Event Highest Injury None
On Ground, Fatal Injuries --
On Ground, Minor Injuries --
On Ground, Serious Injuries --
Injury Total Fatal --
Injury Total Minor --
Injury Total None 2
Injury Total Serious --
Injury Total All --
Investigating Agency NTSB
NTSB Docket Number (internal use) 29223
NTSB Notification Source FAA Southern C-ROC
NTSB Notification Date --
NTSB Notification Time --
Fiche Number and/or location -used to find docket information --
Date of most recent change to record Nov 8 2011 3:54PM
User who most recently changed record kenj
Basic weather conditions Visual Meteorological Cond
FAA District Office --

Aircraft Involved

Aircraft #1

Aircraft Registration Number N74603
NTSB Number ERA10LA361
Missing Aircraft Indicator --
Federal Aviation Reg. Part Part 91: General Aviation
Type of Flight Plan filed None
Flight plan Was Activated? No
Damage Substantial
Aircraft Fire None
Aircraft Explosion None
Aircraft Manufacturer's Full Name ROBINSON HELICOPTER
Aircraft Model R22 BETA
Aircraft Series Identifier --
Aircraft Serial Number 3934
Certified Max Gross Weight 1370
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 2
Number of Engines 1
Fixed gear or retractable gear Fixed
Aircraft, Type of Last Inspection 100 Hour
Date of Last Inspection Oct 28 2009 12:00AM
Airframe hours since last inspection 59
Airframe Hours 1663
ELT Installed No
ELT Activated Unknown
ELT Aided Location of Event Site Unknown
ELT Type --
Aircraft Owner Name ERIC A SPITZER LLC
Aircraft Owner Street Address 5958 ROD AVE
Aircraft Owner City WOODLAND HILLS
Aircraft Owner State CA
Aircraft Owner Country USA
Aircraft Owner Zipcode 91367-1003
Operator is an individual? Yes
Operator Name Brian Parker
Operator Same as Owner? No
Operator Is Doing Business As --
Operator Address Same as Owner? No
Operator Street Address --
Operator City Pahokee
Operator State FL
Operator Country USA
Operator Zip code 33492
Operator Code --
Owner has at least one certificate None
Other Operator of large aircraft? No
Certified for Part 133 or 137 Operation --
Operator Certificate Number --
Indicates whether an air carrier operation was scheduled or not --
Indicates Domestic or International Flight --
Operator carrying Pax/Cargo/Mail --
Type of Flying (Per_Bus / Primary) Other Work Use
Second Pilot on Board No
Departure Point Same as Event Yes
Departure Airport Code --
Departure City West Melbourne
Departure State FL
Departure Country USA
Departure Time 1600
Departure Time Zone EDT
Destination Same as Local Flt dest & departure same, accident can occur anywhere
Destination Airport Code PVT
Destination City West Melbourne
Destination State FL
Destination Country USA
Specific Phase of Flight --
Report sent to ICAO? --
Evacuation occurred --
Date of most recent change to record Nov 8 2011 3:54PM
User who most recently changed record kenj
Since inspection or accident Time of Accident
Event Location Runway Number and Location N/A
Runway Length --
Runway Width --
Sight Seeing flight No
Air Medical Flight No
Medical Flight --