Accident Robinson R44 N144AK, Wednesday 26 June 2002
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Date:Wednesday 26 June 2002
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Robinson R44
Owner/operator:Quicksilver Air Inc
Registration: N144AK
MSN: 0569
Year of manufacture:1999
Engine model:Lycoming O-540-F1B5
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Lake about 12 miles south of Shageluk, Alaska -   United States of America
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Shageluk Airport, Shageluk, Alaska (SHX/PAHX)
Destination airport:Shageluk Airport, Shageluk, Alaska (SHX/PAHX)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
On June 26, 2002, about 09:00 ADT (Alaska Daylight Time), a Robinson R-44 helicopter, N144AK, sustained substantial damage during an approach to a beach for landing, about 12 miles south of Shageluk, Alaska. The helicopter was being operated by Quicksilver Air Inc., of Fairbanks, Alaska, as a visual flight rules (VFR) positioning flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, at the time of the accident. The solo commercial pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and company VFR flight following procedures were in effect.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on June 27, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who interviewed the pilot, said the pilot told him he had been ferrying surveyors and survey equipment, and was returning to pickup surveyors when the accident occurred. The pilot said he was about 200 feet above the lake, making an approach to a beach, when he looked inside the helicopter to check the carburettor heat. The pilot said when he looked up he was headed, nose down, toward the surface of the lake. He levelled the helicopter above the surface of the lake, but during the attitude recovery, the tail rotor struck the water. The helicopter then settled into the lake, and sank in about nine feet of water.

During a telephone conversation with the IIC on June 28, the director of maintenance for the operator said the helicopter had been recovered from the lake. He said a preliminary examination of the helicopter revealed some fuselage damage, and the drive-shaft flex coupling to the tail rotor gearbox was sheered. He said the bulkhead adjacent to the flex coupling was also damaged.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain a proper glide path. A factor associated with the accident was the pilot's diverted attention.

NOTE: Further confirmation that Robinson R44 N144AK was substantially damaged is the fact the the registration N144AK was cancelled by the FAA on January 22, 2003 as "Exported to Venezuela". Another Robinson R44 Raven II is now registered as N144AK to the same owners - however, this a completely different airframe (MSN 10226) first registered on January 21 2004

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: ANC02LA061
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


1. NTSB Accident Number: ANC02LA061 at
2. FAA:


Revision history:

14-Oct-2018 01:00 Dr.John Smith Added

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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