Accident Robinson R44 II N447SH, Tuesday 7 February 2006
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Date:Tuesday 7 February 2006
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Robinson R44 II
Owner/operator:Dracor Corporation
Registration: N447SH
MSN: 10367
Year of manufacture:2004
Total airframe hrs:122 hours
Engine model:Textron Lycoming IO-540-AE1A5
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Jubilee Ranch, 3 miles west of Minden-Tahoe Airport, Minden, Nevada -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Minden-Tahoe Airport, Minden, Nevada (MEV/KMEV)
Destination airport:Private Helipad, near Minden, Nevada
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
On February 7, 2006, at 08:02 PST (Pacific Standard Time), a Robinson R44 II helicopter, N447SH, collided with terrain and burned approximately 3 miles west of the Minden-Tahoe Airport, Minden, Nevada. The pilot was operating the helicopter under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The helicopter was registered to DRACOR. The private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. The helicopter was destroyed in the post-impact fire. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The pilot departed from Minden about 07:55 PST.

According to the assistant manager of the Minden airport, the helicopter was based at Minden. The pilot also owned two airplanes, and used the helicopter to commute between his home and the airport. The helicopter was always stored overnight in a hangar at the airport, unless it had been repositioned to the pilot's house.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) accident coordinator interviewed a friend of the pilot following the accident. The pilot's friend indicated that they had flown from Minden to the Madera, California area in the days leading up to the accident, and had returned to Minden the previous day. Due to poor weather conditions, they were unable to land at the pilot's home so they landed at Minden. The pilot was repositioning the helicopter to his home when the accident occurred. Repeated attempts by the National Transportation Safety Board investigator to contact the pilot's friend were unsuccessful.

A witness was standing in her home and watched the helicopter come up over the trees and descend downward. The helicopter then made a sharp left turn and hovered for about 20 seconds. At that point, the witness stated that the helicopter began moving backward for about 1,000 feet. As the helicopter was moving backward, both the engine and helicopter sounds seemed normal to the witness. The witness thought that the helicopter was about 60 feet above ground level but due to her position from her residence, it was difficult for her to judge. As she watched the helicopter continue to move backward, the witness turned away from the window. Shortly thereafter, she heard the main rotor blades and engine become really loud and make a "clunking and rattle noise." She looked in the direction of where the helicopter had been flying, and noted a smoke plume.

An additional witness reported that he was outside working when he heard what he thought was a single-engine airplane "over rev" its engine, " if in a hard turn or pull out of a dive." He looked up and saw a fireball erupt, followed by a muffled impact sound, and then a louder explosion.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The divergence of the main rotor from its normal plane of rotation for an undetermined reason, which resulted in main rotor/tail boom contact and loss of control.

Additional: According to a contemporary newspaper report (see link #3):

"A Carson Valley pilot died when his helicopter crashed shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday in a cow pasture on the Jubilee Ranch, just east of Foothill Road and south of Muller Lane, south of David Walley's Hot Springs. The victim was identified as Kingsbury Grade resident Patrick Samal, 41, who commuted in his Robinson R-44 helicopter, according to Doyle Holden, a Douglas County resident and acquaintance. Firefighters at the scene extinguished a small fire that resulted from the crash."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: LAX06FA104
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


1. NTSB Accident Number: LAX06FA104 at
2. FAA Registry:
7. Photo of wreckage:


Revision history:

28-Oct-2008 00:45 ASN archive Added
18-Apr-2009 12:18 Anon. Updated
06-Jun-2014 16:26 TB Updated [Source, Damage, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
05-Dec-2017 09:03 ASN Update Bot Updated [Other fatalities, Source, Narrative]
23-Oct-2018 23:08 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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