Accident Robinson R44 Alpha N744FC, Monday 4 December 2000
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Date:Monday 4 December 2000
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Robinson R44 Alpha
Owner/operator:Christian Cardiology
Registration: N744FC
MSN: 0888
Year of manufacture:2000
Total airframe hrs:60 hours
Engine model:Lycoming O-540-F1B5
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Sandgap, Jackson County, Kentucky -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Manchester, Kentucky
Destination airport:Lexington, Kentucky
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
On December 4, 2000, about 19:10 EST (Eastern Standard Time), a Robinson R44 Alpha, N744FC, operated by Christian Cardiology, Manchester, Kentucky, was destroyed when it impacted rising terrain near Sandgap, Kentucky. The non-instrument rated, certificated private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site. No flight plan had been filed for the business flight that was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot, along with two company employees were en route to Lexington, Kentucky, to acquire additional equipment for a planned expansion of the pilot's medical practice. According to witnesses, the flight had been planned to depart from his office in Manchester, with an intermediate stop at Jackson, Kentucky, and then proceed to Lexington.

The pilot was estimated to have departed about 1850. Several witnesses along the route of flight reported either seeing or hearing a helicopter fly by. However, a check of the times the helicopter was observed or heard, revealed most were earlier than the departure time of the accident flight.

Two witnesses in a vehicle, were headed toward McKee, Kentucky, about 1910. They observed a bright glow on the opposite side of a ridgeline through clouds. One of the witness reported the glow lasted for about 5 seconds and described it as similar to a sunrise. The other witness reported a low cloud covered the top of the ridge. Neither witness saw or heard the helicopter prior to the glow, nor was any smoke observed after the glow. Based upon the witnesses' observations, the wreckage was found on December 5, 2000.

The accident occurred during the hours of darkness at 37 degrees, 31.272 north latitude, and 84 degrees, 04.911 minutes west longitude.

Probable Cause: the pilot's improper weather evaluation, and his failure to maintain terrain clearance while operating over unlighted terrain at night. Factors were the isolated areas of fog, and night conditions.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: NYC01FA053
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


1. NTSB:Accident Number: NYC01FA053 at
2. FAA register:

Revision history:

24-Oct-2008 10:30 ASN archive Added
18-Dec-2011 19:30 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Phase, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
10-Aug-2016 13:28 Dr.John Smith Updated [Operator, Source, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:22 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
12-Dec-2017 19:34 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
12-Oct-2018 16:44 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
12-Oct-2018 20:53 Dr.John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Location, Source, Narrative]

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