Distracted Dynamic Rollover (R22 N19VH)
According to the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) safety investigation report (released on 13 July 2022), the helicopter had landed and was rotors running reportedly with “full collective friction applied”. The pilot (who had 177 hours total time, all on the R22) used a torch to view the Hobbs meter. This was due to it being their last solo flight and they wanted to confirm if the flight was going to accumulate sufficient time.
Unfortunately “the collective crept up, the helicopter rolled to the right and dynamically rolled over”.
The canopy, horizontal stabilizer and main rotor were damaged, although the pilot was uninjured.
NTSB Probable Cause
The pilot’s failure to maintain helicopter control while on the ground when his attention was diverted, which resulted in a dynamic rollover.
Safety Observations and Distraction & Dynamic Rollover Safety Resources
The pilot stated in the accident report form that in relation to preventing the accident:
I could have prevented the accident by trusting the timer that I had set in the aircraft instead of needed a visual confirmation of the hobbs meter.
I could have also rolled down the throttle to lower the RPM’s of the rotor head prior to checking the timer.
EHEST Leaflet HE 1 Safety Considerations discuses static and dynamic rollovers.
The UK CAA has issued this infographic on distraction:
Other Safety Resources
- Be Careful If You Step Outside!: Unoccupied Rotors Running AS350 Takes Off
- AS350B3 Rolls Over: Pilot Caught Out By Engine Control Differences
- AS350B3 Dynamic Rollover When Headset Cord Snags Unguarded Collective
- Fatal B206L3 Cell Phone Discount Distracted CFIT
- Cessna 208B Collides with C172 after Distraction
- HEMS Pilot Seizure While Rotor-Running
- Taxiing AW139 Blade Strike on Maintenance Stand
- R44 Force Lands After Improper Repair
- UPDATE 25 March 2023: Managing Interruptions: HEMS Call-Out During Engine Rinse
- UPDATE 10 June 2023: EC135 Air Ambulance CFIT when Pilot Distracted Correcting Tech Log Error
- UPDATE 4 February 2024: HEMS Air Ambulance Landing Site Slide
Also on human factors:
…and our review of The Field Guide to Understanding Human Error by Sidney Dekker presented to the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS): The Field Guide to Understanding Human Error – A Review