Fatal Brantly Crash 5/27/11

Items of interest regarding Brantly helicopters.

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Fatal Brantly Crash 5/27/11

Postby Ron Spiker » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:38 pm

IDENTIFICATION
Regis#: 222DW Make/Model: BRB2 Description: B-2 BRANTLY ROTORCRAFT
Date: 05/27/2011 Time: 0000

Event Type: Accident Highest Injury: Fatal Mid Air: N Missing: N
Damage: Substantial

LOCATION
City: WEAVERVILLE State: CA Country: US

DESCRIPTION
N222DW BRANTLY B-2 ROTORCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE 1
PERSON ON BOARD WAS FATALLY INJURED, SUBJECT OF AN ALERT NOTICE, WRECKAGE
LOCATED IN A REMOTE AREA 28 MILES FROM REDDING, NEAR WEAVERVILLE, CA


Here are some links to stories relating to the accident.
http://www.jocosarblog.org/jocosarblog/2011/06/ca-some-helo-crash-details-given-student-pilot-was-overdue-.html
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/06/01/state/n125315D35.DTL
http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_18181220
http://helicoptersafety.blogspot.com/2011/06/27-may-11-n222dw-brantly-b2b.html
http://www.redding.com/photos/2011/may/31/52318/
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Re: Fatal Brantly Crash 5/27/11

Postby Ron Spiker » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:49 pm

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Re: Fatal Brantly Crash 5/27/11

Postby JasonTX » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:14 pm

It's always sad to get this kind of news. I am not familiar with that N# or the city where it was. Any ideas as to who the previous owner was because. Just curious because I usually recall where the different ships are located and this was not in my memory bank.
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Re: Fatal Brantly Crash 5/27/11

Postby Ron Spiker » Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:37 am

The previous owner was Dave Morss in CA. I think it was just purchased from him the end of last year.
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Re: Fatal Brantly Crash 5/27/11

Postby seneca2e » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:22 am

Terrible news. I feel very badly for the man that lost his life. Hopefully the machine was functioning properly. I believe that helicopter had the late style 404 blades on it as I called about it when it was for sale a year or so ago.
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Re: Fatal Brantly Crash 5/27/11

Postby bryancobb » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:35 am

Dave Morss, the ship's previous owner, has been a "for-hire" test pilot, mainly for extreme high performance experimental aircraft for decades. He has written articles for many aviation publications and is recognized as an "expert" by many in aviation.
Some of the best known projects he has been involved as a test pilot are the Papa-51 3/4 scale Thunder Mustang, and the Pond Racer unlimited, experimental Air Race aircraft.

He was a highly experienced aircraft builder/maintainer and I would speculate that the ship was in impeccable condition based on everything I have ever seen him involved with. The fact that he removed all his 202 blades and bought a set of new 404's seems to indicate this also, especially since I think I saw his 202's advertised for sale as being serviceable.
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Re: Fatal Brantly Crash 5/27/11

Postby Ron Spiker » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:52 am

I agree that it is highly unlikely that anything was wrong with the helicopter at the time it was sold.

Here is the NTSB preliminary report of the accident.
http://dms.ntsb.gov/aviation/AccidentReports/zlwq2m45ttlekgicqfl5hu451/R06082011120000.pdf
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Re: Fatal Brantly Crash 5/27/11

Postby bryancobb » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:00 pm

Well the first things that set my wheels of speculation in motion are 1) Very High Winds 2) Lady who heard the crash didn't hear any engine noise, which on a Brantly, is VERRRY loud.
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Re: Fatal Brantly Crash 5/27/11

Postby seneca2e » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:01 am

Seems odd that his friend asked him how much fuel he had on board before departure and asked him if he wanted his photo taken. Maybe he was concerned about him running low on fuel if he fooled around with a photo shoot??????

Wind was reported very strong and no engine noise at crash.

Could it have been that he was simply in fairly high terrain and this was a density altitude problem and he clipped trees? But that is rebuffed because of no engine noise heard by the witness. So the next thought is the engine quit for some reason. It does not seem likely he would have run out of fuel on such a short flight if he had anywhere close to the reported amount of fuel even with strong winds.

So logic seems to say he suffered an engine failure but we don't know why. We know there's been some from fuel pump failures-Gary Goldsberry once told me the first ride he gave his wife ended up in a field from such a failure years and years ago. The terrain was quite different as was the experience of the pilot so that turned out much differently.

I hate these crashes.
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Re: Fatal Brantly Crash 5/27/11

Postby Ron Spiker » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:47 am

seneca2e wrote:Seems odd that his friend asked him how much fuel he had on board before departure and asked him if he wanted his photo taken. Maybe he was concerned about him running low on fuel if he fooled around with a photo shoot??????


What is odd about this? A pilot checks on his student pilot friend to make sure he has enough fuel, what his destination is, and if he wants a picture when he picks up into a hover. Quite responsible of the friend I think. And is having "A" picture or two taken of you when you pick up in a hover fooling around with a photo shoot? Most guys I know would like to have a picture of themselves hovering or taking off, especially as a student pilot.


http://www.ntsb.gov/aviationquery/brief.aspx?ev_id=20110528X94407&key=1
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Re: Fatal Brantly Crash 5/27/11

Postby fixnfly » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:57 pm

Being involved in aviation for thirty five years, manager of an airport for several years , a aviation mechanic and a member of a fire co. over 35 years I have probably seen more aviation accidents than most. Trying to find an answer for the family and bring closer for them is always the hardest. Usually 10 minuets after an incident there is so much speculation that no one really knows the answer. I agree with Ron, I can't hardly remember when a new pilot didn't want his or her picture taken when they first start, and i for one am always asking a pilot where they are headed, call me nosy or call me cautious but i like to know if the weather gets bad when to expect them back. Maybe thats from knowing everyone at the airport and being friends for years.I've heard people discuss maybe it was pilot error, maybe mechanical I haven't heard one person say maybe it wasn't either, maybe a medical problem ? Instead of speculation as to the cause of the accident lets wait and see what the N.T.S.B. comes up with, it may or may not surprise you.Lets not forget the pilots friends and family and whatever the results of the N.T.S.B . lets try and learn from it. Happy Flying. Bill
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Re: Fatal Brantly Crash 5/27/11

Postby bryancobb » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:34 am

Hi Bill,
I agree with you that speculation is just speculation. The official findings of the NTSB are objective and factual.

Discussion before the NTSB's final findings can be constructive though, because it "gets people thinking" about their
own flying and the aircraft they fly. I remember an Ercoupe crash several years ago. Speculation was heavy on what caused
it and one thing some people were speculating about was the old gascolators on most Ercoupes. That caused me to disassemble
the one on the plane I was flying, and sure enough, I was very close to following in the footsteps of the 2 fatally injured occupants.
I'll bet many other coupe owners did the same thing I did, based only on the speculation.

When the NTSB report came out several months later, the screen wadding up in the gascolator was the cause of 2 deaths.
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Re: Fatal Brantly Crash 5/27/11

Postby seneca2e » Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:48 am

Nothing at all odd about the picture request and where you going questions but from a fellow pilot(not a non pilot who ask "how much fuel we got?" quite often actually) to ask you how much fuel you have on a very short cross country(what was it 30 miles?) it just makes you sit up and think. As I previously noted the photo shoot delay might have triggered such a question.

There's nothing wrong with trying to figure out what might have gone wrong. NTSB reports are notorious for ultimately concluding pilot error in most cases and anyone that's been around aviation long knows of many reports that were far from accurate. Plenty of times it just simply cannot be determined what happened with any degree of accuracy.

A fatal Baron 58 crash from my hometown that occurred just weeks ago comes to mind. I actually almost crossed paths with it returning from a flight from Charleston, SC. that same day. An experienced pilot(26 years old but very competent and qualified) flying a charter with 3 young college grads reported a fire(at 9000 feet) and it crashed and killed them all around Murphy, NC. seconds later. He never said what kind of fire it was and after only 3 more mode c hits he disappeared from radar. Even in this remote area witnesses were present and the plane was found in less than an hour. I don't know what caused the fire but it is worth noting that an A/D the ABS lobbied heavily against applied to most of these planes involving circuit breakers. Sometimes you have to replace over a dozen of them to c/w the A/D. They're very difficult to change and I was of the opinion that it would likely create more danger than it would eliminate since it could actually create a fire hazard due to human error in complying with the A/D. Of course even in the summer at 9000 feet it can be cool and maybe the onboard combustion heater blew up(very rare). The fire could have been so intense that he simply had no choice but to dive it and a structural failure occurred. That one really bothers me as well as I've owned, operated and still occasionally fly Baron 58's plus I personally know the people who operated that plane and think highly of them. I don't have to wait for the NTSB final report to start thinking about what might have happened. It might make me or someone else check something(related or not) that will increase safety just a bit.
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