Turbine Section Of The Engine Had Been Removed And Reinstalled Three Times In The Past Month
Location: Mehama, OR Accident Number: WPR20LA224
Date & Time: 07/17/2020, 0854 PDT Registration: N2297W
Aircraft: Hiller UH 12D Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural
On July 17, 2020, at about 0854 Pacific daylight time, a Hiller UH-12D helicopter, N2297W, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Mehama, Oregon. The pilot was fatally injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 137 aerial application flight.
There were no witnesses to the accident. The support truck operator reported that the helicopter departed from the truck and flew towards the next field. Shortly after departing the truck operator heard the pilot report over the radio that he was “going down.”
The helicopter impacted patch of tall trees in between Christmas tree fields. The helicopter came to rest upside down at the base of a tree. A post impact fire ensued and completely consumed the cabin area and engine compartment. The trees slightly west of the accident site were topped.
The operator reported that the turbine section of the engine had been removed and reinstalled three times in the past month due to continued problems with the engine. After final repairs, about a week before the accident, the helicopter was returned to service. The helicopter has been recovered for further examination.