Accident Robinson R44 N7188K, Thursday 29 May 2003
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Date:Thursday 29 May 2003
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Robinson R44
Owner/operator:Tarlton Helicopters, Inc.
Registration: N7188K
MSN: 1073
Year of manufacture:2001
Total airframe hrs:730 hours
Engine model:Lycoming O-540-F1B5
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Brazos Block 532, off Texas Coast, Gulf of Mexico -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:William P. Hobby Airport, Houston, Texas (HOU/KHOU)
Destination airport:Mustang Island Area East Addition, Gulf of Mexico (A133)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
On May 29, 2003, approximately 04:00 CDT (Central Daylight Time), a Robinson R44 single-engine helicopter, N7188K, was destroyed when it impacted the water near Brazos Block 532, in the Gulf of Mexico. The airline transport rated pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Tarlton Helicopters, Inc., Houston, Texas. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a company flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 non-scheduled, on-demand air cargo flight. The flight departed the William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), near Houston, Texas, at 03:20 CDT, and was destined for an offshore platform located at the Mustang Island Area East Addition, Block A-133, in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the operator, the 73-year-old pilot departed HOU with a load of parts needed at an offshore platform. The pilot estimated an en-route time of 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the 70 nautical mile flight, and estimated a total fuel on board of 2 hours and 30 minutes. After the pilot was reported missing, a search was initiated.

On May 29, 2003, approximately 11:00 CDT, the body of the pilot and debris from the helicopter were located by the U.S. Coast Guard, at 28 degrees 19.15 minutes north latitude, and 95 degrees 56.2 minutes west longitude. The ocean depth in the vicinity of the debris field was estimated to average from 100 to 120 feet. According to a Federal Aviation Administrator (FAA) inspector, the debris that was located included two skid float assemblies, cushions, and miscellaneous items. The helicopter was not recovered and is presumed destroyed.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: undetermined, at the aircraft was not recovered. Registration N7188K was finally cancelled by the FAA on August 27 2004 as "destroyed"

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: FTW03LA163
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


1. NTSB Accident Number: FTW03LA163 at
2. FAA register:


Revision history:

28-Oct-2008 00:45 ASN archive Added
13-Jan-2012 11:19 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Nature, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
01-May-2016 18:39 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Source, Narrative]
02-Sep-2016 21:39 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
08-Dec-2017 18:45 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
17-Oct-2018 22:26 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
17-Oct-2018 22:27 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
17-Oct-2018 22:28 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source]
17-Oct-2018 22:29 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source]
17-Oct-2018 22:30 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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