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National Transportation Safety Board

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report

Location: Dimmitt, TX Accident Number: CEN17FA209


Date & Time: 06/03/2017, 1750 CDT Registration: N7091F
ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY
Aircraft: Injuries: 1 Fatal
R44 II
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business

On June 3, 2017, about 1750 central daylight time, a Robinson R44 II single-engine helicopter,
N7091F, impacted terrain while maneuvering near Dimmitt, Texas. The private pilot, who was
the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries, and the helicopter sustained substantial damage.
The helicopter was registered to Don Oppliger Trucking, Inc, Clovis, New Mexico, and operated
by a private individual under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a business flight.
Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and a flight plan was not
filed for the local flight. The flight departed a private helipad near Farwell, Texas, about 1300.

According to the pilot's business personnel, the pilot departed on a routine flight to check and
observe crop fields, business facilities, and other business-related assets. The pilot did not
return from the flight and a search was initiated. The helicopter accident site was located about
0800 on June 4, 2017, by business personnel. There were no witnesses to the accident.

Examination of the accident site revealed the helicopter came to rest on its right side in a wheat
field (wheat crop was about 3 inches tall). Three ground scars, consistent with the main rotor
blades, were observed adjacent to the main wreckage. Fragmented plexiglass was scattered
between the ground scars and main wreckage. Separated sections of the main rotor blades were
located within a 75-foot diameter of the main wreckage, and the main rotor blades were
fragmented, bent, deformed, and remained attached to the rotor hub. The lower forward
fuselage was crushed aft and upward. Flight control continuity was established from the
cockpit flight controls to the swashplate and tail rotor system. Drivetrain continuity was
established from the engine to the main transmission and tail rotor systems.

The closest National Weather Service reporting site was from the Clovis Municipal Airport
(CVN), Clovis, New Mexico, located about 32 miles west of the accident site. At 1735, the CVN
site reported winds from 200 at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 10,000 feet, scattered
clouds at 12,000 feet, temperature 22 degrees C, dew point 14 degrees C, and an altimeter
setting of 30.04 inches of Mercury.

Page 1 of 2 CEN17FA209
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when
the final report has been completed.
Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information
Aircraft Manufacturer: ROBINSON HELICOPTER Registration: N7091F
COMPANY
Model/Series: R44 II II Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file Air Carrier Operating None
Certificate:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan


Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: CVN, 4216 ft msl Observation Time: 1735 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 32 Nautical Miles Temperature/Dew Point: 22C / 14C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 10000 ft agl Wind Speed/Gusts, 7 knots, 200
Direction:
Lowest Ceiling: None Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Farwell, TX (PVT) Destination: Farwell, TX (PVT)

Wreckage and Impact Information


Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal Latitude, Longitude: 34.420556, -102.512222
Administrative Information
Investigator In Charge (IIC): Aaron M Sauer
Additional Participating Persons: Dawna Gournic; Federal Aviation Administration; Lubbock, TX
Thom Webster; Robinson Helicopter Company; Torrance, CA
Note: The NTSB traveled to the scene of this accident.

Page 2 of 2 CEN17FA209
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when
the final report has been completed.