Helicopter ‘Began A Rapid, Near Vertical Descent’

Location: Gila Bend, AZ Accident Number: ANC22FA030
Date & Time: April 15, 2022, 08:37 Local Registration: N7516G
Aircraft: Robinson Helicopter R22 Beta Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Instructional

On April 15, 2022, about 0837 mountain standard time, a Robinson R22 helicopter, N7516G, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Gila Bend, Arizona. The student pilot was fatally injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 training flight.

The flight initiated at the Chandler Municipal Airport (CHD), Chandler, Arizona at about 0757. The flight was intended to be a solo cross-country flight to the Gila Bend Municipal Airport (E63), Gila Bend.

A witness, located about ½ mile west of the accident site, reported seeing the helicopter as it approached Runway 22. He said that as the helicopter neared the end of the runway, it began a rapid, near vertical descent. He noted that during the helicopter’s vertical descent, the main and tail rotor blades appeared to be rotating, but he was unable to discern at what speed. The witness added that he was unable to hear the engine of the helicopter because he was operating heavy equipment. The helicopter subsequently struck the ground about 212 ft from the edge of the runway, sustaining substantial damage to the fuselage, main and tail rotor drive systems, and tail boom.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov