Accident Robinson R44 N952LC, Sunday 29 September 2002
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Date:Sunday 29 September 2002
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Robinson R44
Owner/operator:Holt Helicopters
Registration: N952LC
MSN: 0719
Year of manufacture:1999
Total airframe hrs:1144 hours
Engine model:Lycoming O-540-F1B5
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:near Del Rio, Texas -   United States of America
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Rancho El Conejos, Del Rio, Texas
Destination airport:Del Rio, Texas
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
On September 29, 2002, approximately 18:00 CDT (Central Daylight Time), a Robinson R44 helicopter, N952LC, was substantially damaged when it rolled over while landing on a trailer near Del Rio, Texas. The helicopter was registered to the Leyendecker Construction Company of Laredo, Texas, and operated by Holt Helicopters of Uvalde, Texas. The commercial pilot was not injured and his passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 aerial observation flight. The local deer survey flight originated from Rancho El Conejos, a private ranch located north of Del Rio, at about 16:30 CDT.

According to the 1,243-hour pilot, he had just completed a deer survey of the 10,000 acre ranch and came back to land the helicopter on a trailer. The pilot added that the wind were "strong, estimated at 20 to 25 knots variable and gusting." and he aborted his first attempt to land on the trailer. He attempted a second approach to land and came within a "few inches" of touching down on the trailer when the helicopter encountered a gust of wind. The pilot reported that the helicopter "lurched" forward, rolled to the right, then fell off the trailer, landing on its left side.

Examination of the wreckage by the FAA inspector, who responded to the accident site, revealed that the tail boom was bent-up approximately 45 degrees, large portions of the main rotor blades were sheared off, the main rotor mast was bent inward toward the cabin, and the front wind screen is broken out. Evidence of main rotor blade strikes were found on the goose neck of the trailer and the forward portion of the trailer. The landing gear cross tubes and the skid tubes were undamaged.

In the recommendation block of the NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) completed by the pilot, the pilot stated, "Don't land on trailer in gusty/windy conditions."

The Del Rio International Airport (DRT) located about 5 miles southwest (210 degrees) of the accident site was the nearest weather reporting station. At 17:53 DRT was reporting the winds from 130 degrees at 10 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 29 degrees Celsius, dew point 17 degrees Celsius, and a barometric pressure of 29.90 inches of Mercury. The density altitude was calculated at 2,713 feet at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain control of the helicopter. A contributing factor was the reported gusting wind conditions.

NOTE: Robinson R44 N952LC was presumably later deemed as "damaged beyond economic repair", as the registration N952LC was cancelled by the FAA on April 24 2003 as "destroyed"

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: FTW02LA268
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


1. NTSB Accident Number: FTW02LA268 at
2. FAA:

Revision history:

16-Oct-2018 16:26 Dr.John Smith Added

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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