Accident Robinson R44 N8329B, Thursday 17 July 2003
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Date:Thursday 17 July 2003
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Robinson R44
Owner/operator:Stokely Helicopter Services, Inc.
Registration: N8329B
MSN: 0219
Year of manufacture:1995
Total airframe hrs:1800 hours
Engine model:Lycoming O-540-F1B5
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:12 miles NE of Happy Jack, Coconino County, Arizona -   United States of America
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, Flagstaff, Arizona (FLG/KFLG)
Destination airport:Payson, Gila County, Arizona (PAN/KPAN)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
On July 17, 2003, about 1305 mountain standard time, a Robinson R44, N8329B, experienced a total loss of engine power while cruising about 12 miles northeast of Happy Jack, Mogollon Rim Region of Coconino County, Arizona. (At approximate Latitude: 34'828056" North, Longitude 111'188889" West). The private pilot performed an autorotative descent into the underlying rough terrain. During the descent, just before touchdown, the pilot was able to restart the engine. The pilot reported that, at the time of the restart, he needed to concentrate on performing the forced landing to avoid rolling down the underlying hill. During the landing sequence, the helicopter collided with high vegetation and was substantially damaged. Neither the private pilot nor the passenger was injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the personal flight, and no flight plan was filed. The helicopter was owned and operated by the pilot. The flight was performed under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, and it originated from Flagstaff, Arizona, about 12:45 MST.

The pilot subsequently reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that during the cruise flight the engine suddenly lost all power while cruising about 6,000 feet mean sea level. The power loss was not preceded by any auditory or visual warnings, and none occurred during the descent. The pilot stated that after the engine lost power he only concentrated on the autorotation.

The helicopter wreckage was airlifted out of the remote accident site and was examined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) coordinator. The helicopter's engine was placed into a test cell. The FAA reported that during the first engine run the engine exhibited the following results: (1) normal start; (2) normal warm-up; (3) lean operation upon accelerating between 2,250 and 2,300 rpm with no fuel boost pump on; (4) upon turning on the test cell's fuel boost pump, the engine accelerated between 2,700 and 2,800 rpm with no hesitation. The FAA additionally reported that during the second engine run, with a carburettor from another Lycoming O-540 engine, the accident engine operated normally during run up to full power without the test cell's fuel boost pump turned on.

The accident Precision Airmotive Corporation carburetor, Model MA-4-5, part number 10-6035-11, serial number 75079404, was sent to its manufacturer for examination under the supervision of a Safety Board investigator. The examination, including a flow test, did not reveal any abnormalities that inhibited the carburettor from functioning within prescribed design specifications. The reason for the excessively lean mixture/restricted fuel flow, which reduced the engine's available power, was not ascertained.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The partial loss of engine power due to an excessively lean mixture for undetermined reasons during cruise flight. Robinson R44 N8329B was presumably written off (damaged beyond repair) as the registration was cancelled by the FAA on December 24, 2003 as "destroyed"

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: LAX03LA235
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


1. NTSB Accident Number: LAX03LA235 at
2. FAA:

History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft

2 July 1998 N8329B William Ray Stokely 0 Roaring River State Park, near Cassville, Missouri. sub
Collision with pole or wires


Revision history:

17-Oct-2018 23:20 Dr.John Smith Added

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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