Main Wreckage Was Positioned About 50 Ft From A Set Of Power Lines

Location: Mentone, TX Accident Number: CEN21FA410
Date & Time: September 10, 2021, 09:00 Local Registration: N292DD
Aircraft: Robinson Helicopter R22 Beta Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Aerial observation

On September 10, 2021, about 0900 central daylight time, a Robinson Helicopter R22 Beta, N292DD, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Mentone, Texas. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 aerial observation (livestock gathering) flight.

The pilot departed the operator’s facility in Sterling City, Texas, about 0750. Ground support personnel arrived in the area about 0800. A witness observed the helicopter 6 times over the next 30 to 40 minutes. The wreckage was discovered about 0930 and local authorities were contacted. There were no known witnesses to the accident itself.

The accident site was located on a private ranch in an area of low scrub brush. The main wreckage was positioned about 50 ft from a set of power lines. The power line support poles extended to about 50 ft above ground level; the transmission lines were about 45 ft. agl. One power transmission line was separated and draped over the intact lines.

The helicopter sustained damage to the fuselage, tail boom and main rotor blades. The fuselage nose exhibited localized discoloration consistent with electrical arcing damage. Repetitive linear marks consistent with powerline contact were present aft of the arcing damage. The aft portion of the tail boom including the tail rotor assembly was separated and located near the main wreckage. Tail boom fragments in the area of the separation exhibited deformation and scuffing marks consistent with contact to a main rotor blade. Both main rotor blades and both tail rotor blades were damaged but remained secured to the respective rotor hubs.