Wirestrike Accident Robinson R44 Raven II N7007F, Wednesday 12 December 2001
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Date:Wednesday 12 December 2001
Time:18:22
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Robinson R44 Raven II
Owner/operator:WW Helicopters
Registration: N7007F
MSN: 0508
Year of manufacture:1998
Total airframe hrs:2864 hours
Engine model:Lycoming O-540-F1B5
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Category:Accident
Location:Waukesha, WI -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Ferry/positioning
Departure airport:Milwaukee-Lawrence J Timmerman Airport, WI (KMWC)
Destination airport:East Troy Municipal Airport, WI (57C)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Narrative:
On December 12, 2001, about 1822 central standard time, a Robinson R44 helicopter, N7007F, was destroyed when it impacted power lines and impacted Interstate Highway 43 near Waukesha, Wisconsin. Four motor vehicles were damaged. The helicopter impacted one of the motor vehicles and the remaining three motor vehicles sustained minor damage. The helicopter was piloted by an airline transport pilot. The flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91. Night visual to instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the area at the time of the accident. No flight plan was on file. The pilot was fatally injured, one motor vehicle occupant sustained serious injury, and one motor vehicle occupant sustained minor injury. The positioning flight originated about 1810 from the Lawrence J. Timmerman Airport (MWC), near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was destined for East Troy Municipal Airport, near East Troy, Wisconsin.

The helicopter, while in cruise flight, was destroyed when it impacted a static powerline, a vehicle and terrain . The pilot asked local ATC to fly in controlled airspace and was told to remain outside due to present IFR conditions. Those weather conditions were 1 1/2 statute miles visibility, drizzle, and overcast skies at 400 feet. A witness stated that he "was driving and saw a red light over what seemed like the median a few 100 ft. in the air. The light rose almost straight upward maybe another 200 ft and then began corkscrewing downward." The helicopter is placarded, "THIS ROTOCRAFT APPROVED FOR DAY AND NIGHT VFR [visual flight rules] OPERATIONS." An on-scene investigation revealed no pre-impact anomalies. The fiberglass chin portion of the front right side of the cabin had a linear tear. The right side forward and aft cabin doors had a linear scratch across them. The helicopter color scheme was blue, white, and red. A power line contractor stated, "I inspected the helicopter crash site at I-43, on December 14, 2001. I inspected the static wire span, hands on, and found some plastic and fiberglass shavings. I also found three different color paints, mainly blue, very little yellow and a tiny bit of red. ... The locations of apparent contact points on the shield wire was an area 35 - 40 feet just North of mid-span." A power line employee calculated the wire was about "146' over the roadway." Robinson Safety Notice SN-26 stated, "NIGHT FLIGHT PLUS BAD WEATHER CAN BE DEADLY ... When it is dark, the pilot cannot see wires or the bottom of clouds, nor low hanging scud or fog." A Flight For Life Pilot stated that a request was received for "Aeromedical transport from an accident on [Highway] 164 and [Interstate] -43 by the Waukesha Co. Sheriff's Dept. I determined weather conditions were not acceptable so the flight request was denied."

Probable Cause: The pilot's continued flight into adverse weather and not maintaining altitude/clearance from the static line during cruise flight. Factors were the static wire, the darkness of night, the low ceiling, and the vehicle.

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: CHI02FA049
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 5 months
Download report: Final report

Sources:

1. NTSB Accident Number: CHI02FA049 at https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief.aspx?ev_id=20011219X02422&key=1
2. FAA register: http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?omni=Home-N-Number&nNumberTxt=7007F
3. http://www.planetrace.co.uk/2000-2009_33.html
4. https://planecrashmap.com/list/wi/N7007F
5. https://journaltimes.com/news/state-and-regional/news-helicopter-crashes-on-freeway-pilot-severely-injured/article_61571e3c-50e0-50e6-a7e4-dc32652cb02d.html

Location

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
28-Oct-2008 00:45 ASN archive Added
02-Sep-2016 21:31 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
10-Dec-2017 13:27 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Total occupants, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
12-Oct-2018 22:29 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
08-Nov-2022 05:59 Ron Averes Updated [Location, Departure airport]
28-Jul-2023 05:55 Captain Adam Updated
31-Dec-2023 08:21 Anon. Updated [Category]

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