The Helicopter Continued Westbound For About 2 Minutes Before Radar Contact Was Lost

Location: Bronson, FL Accident Number: ERA22FA098
Date & Time: December 30, 2021, 20:29 Local Registration: N442VB
Aircraft: Robinson Helicopter Company R44 II Injuries: 4 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On December 30, 2021, about 2029 eastern standard time, a Robinson R44 II, N442VB, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Bronson, Florida. The pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot departed a private residence located in Bronson, Florida, about 2020 destined for his personal residence in Bell, Florida. According to preliminary radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration, the helicopter continued westbound for about 2 minutes before radar contact was lost.

A witness, out walking her dog, stated that she heard a helicopter in flight about 2025. She looked for the helicopter; however, she could not see it because it was too dark outside, and she did not see any lights. Seconds later, she heard the helicopter crash and a “large fireball” lit up the sky. She called out for her mother to call 911.

The accident site was located in a wooded area and the wreckage path was about 225 ft long. The wreckage was heavily fragmented and scattered along a debris path on a heading of about 360° magnetic. The right skid was embedded in the ground at the main impact site, at a 42° angle. An 8-foot section of the main rotor blade was impaled in the ground about 3 ft deep.

The engine was located about 225 ft north of the main impact point. The main rotor gearbox and sections of the main rotor blades were located about 175 feet northeast of the main impact point.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov