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NTSB Prelim: Hughes 369

At The Time Of The Accident He Was Transporting A Large Toolbox At The End Of A 100-Foot External Load Line

Location: Honolulu, HI Accident Number: ANC21LA003
Date & Time: October 27, 2020, 12:12 Local Registration: N58251
Aircraft: Hughes 369 Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under:

On October 27, 2020, about 1133 Hawaiian standard time, a Hughes 369D, helicopter, N58251, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Honolulu, Hawaii. The pilot was not injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 133 external load flight.

The pilot reported that the helicopter was being used to support powerline maintenance operations, by transporting personnel and equipment to remote sites along the powerline route. He said that at the time of the accident he was transporting a large toolbox at the end of a 100-foot external load line that was attached to the helicopter’s belly-mounted cargo hook. He said that as he brought the helicopter to a stable hover over the pickup site and began to lift the external load, he heard the main rotor speed decrease, followed by the sound of the engine out horn, and the engine out light illuminated on the annunciator panel. The pilot said he jettisoned the load, lowered the collective, and tried to maneuver the helicopter downhill to regain main rotor RPM, but it continued to decay.

During the descent, the main rotor blades struck several treetops, and the helicopter subsequently settled into the thick treetop canopy, nose down. The pilot said that after the impact, the engine was still operating, and he pulled the fuel shut-off and closed the throttle to shut down the engine.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the main rotor drive system, tail boom and fuselage. The helicopter was equipped with a turbo-shaft Rolls-Royce M250-C20B engine. The helicopter has been recovered and a detailed examination is pending.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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