Accident Robinson R44 N442DH, Sunday 1 January 2006
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Date:Sunday 1 January 2006
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Robinson R44
Owner/operator:Francisco Rodriguez
Registration: N442DH
MSN: 0098
Year of manufacture:1994
Total airframe hrs:1299 hours
Engine model:Lycoming O-540
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:near Highway I-10, 6 miles SSW of Grand Ridge, Florida -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Hotel Parking Lot, Grand Ridge, Florida
Destination airport:North Palm Beach, Florida (FAA LID: F45)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
On January 1, 2006, about 19:00 CST (Central Standard Time), a Robinson R44 helicopter, N442DH, registered to a private individual, was destroyed by impact and a post-crash fire when it collided with trees and terrain, near Highwat I-10, about 6 miles south-southwest of Grand Ridge, Florida. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the area at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14, CFR Part 91 ferry flight. The helicopter was destroyed by impact and the post-crash fire. The commercial pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The flight originated about 5 minutes earlier, from a parking lot of a hotel near Grand Ridge, on Highway 69.

Witnesses reported to Jackson County Sheriff's Office that the helicopter landed in a parking lot of a hotel about 18:00 CST, and the occupants inquired at the hotel about the price of a room. After being told about the price, the occupants walked to a restaurant at a truck stop across the street from the hotel. The occupants ate at the restaurant, and then went to the helicopter. The helicopter was seen departing south from the hotel parking lot.

A witness contacted the Jackson County Sheriff's Office on January 4th, between 10:00 and 10:30 hours, and reported that on the day of the accident, about 19:00 CST, while driving on Highway I-10, he saw an explosion. The witness pointed out the area where he saw the explosion, and the wreckage was located.

According to one of the three owners of the helicopter, it had been in Mississippi to provide hurricane relief, and the accident pilot was tasked with ferrying the helicopter from Mississippi, to North Palm Beach County General Aviation Airport, West Palm Beach, Florida. The owner said that on the day of the accident at an unknown time, the pilot contacted him and advised the flight was north of Pensacola, Florida. The owner contacted the pilot between 18:00 and 19:00 hours, and the pilot said he had landed near Tallahassee, Florida, due to adverse weather, and he would call before he left there. The owner did not hear again from the pilot, and assumed he had spent the night near Tallahassee.

The next day, January 2nd, he attempted to contact the pilot, but was unsuccessful. He knew the weather was bad, and believed the pilot spent the day in Tallahassee. On January 3rd, when the pilot had not contacted him, he contacted the Cross City and Tallahassee Commercial airports to see if the pilot had landed there. He also contacted Miami Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) and inquired if there had been a flight plan or weather briefing. He was advised there was no flight plan on file or a weather briefing.

He remained in contact with the Miami AFSS, and was advised on January 4th, that the wreckage was located. The cabin and fuselage section of the helicopter had sustained extensive damage/fragmentation during the impact and post-crash fire.

The accident site was in a thick grove of approximately 60-foot tall trees, roughly 12-14 inches in diameter, about 576 feet south of the southbound lane of Highway I-10. The elevation of the principally flat terrain was about 150 feet msl. An initial impact scar was seen near the top of one damaged tree, about 40 feet above the ground, with impact marks at a descending angle on other trees along the crash path. The crash path was oriented on a magnetic heading of approximately 020 degrees, and extended for about 140 feet to the final resting point.

Probable Cause: The pilot's continued flight into known adverse weather, and his impairment, which resulted in an in-flight collision with trees and terrain during cruise flight.

Additional: According to contemporary newspaper reports (see links #3 & #7) the wreckage of Robinson R44 N442DH was not found for three days, quote:

"Federal investigators tried to piece together the last hours of a helicopter flight that ended in a deadly crash, which went undiscovered for three days. Michael Ray Parker, 47, of Hunter, Ark.; his son, Michael Gerald Parker, 25, of Hunter, Ark.; and Robert Hall Mason, 28, of Brinkley, Ark., all died in the crash according to the Jackson County sheriffs office and Bob Neal & Sons Funeral Homes of Brinkley.

The bodies were pulled from the wreckage on Wednesday. The aircraft had been missing since Sunday night when it crashed in a wooded area south of Interstate 10 in Jackson County."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: MIA06FA039
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


1. NTSB Identification: MIA06FA039 at
2. FAA:
7. News-Press Fort Myers, Florida Issue Dated Sunday, January 8, 2006 Page: Page 47 at


Revision history:

28-Oct-2008 00:45 ASN archive Added
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
05-Dec-2017 09:00 ASN Update Bot Updated [Other fatalities, Source, Narrative]
22-Oct-2018 21:18 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
22-Oct-2018 21:21 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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