Mid-air collision Accident Robinson R44 Raven I N828AK,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 349529
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Date:Saturday 30 December 2023
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Robinson R44 Raven I
Owner/operator:Tunica Helicopters LLC dba Leading Edge Helicopters
Registration: N828AK
MSN: 1689
Year of manufacture:2007
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:near Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB/KDAB), Daytona, FL -   United States of America
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Daytona Beach International Airport, FL (DAB/KDAB)
Destination airport:Daytona Beach International Airport, FL (DAB/KDAB)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The pilot of the helicopter reported that while flying at an indicated altitude around 200 to 300 ft, while on approach to land at an off-airport landing zone, he saw a black “drone” [unmanned aerial system (UAS)] in front of his windscreen. He attempted to avoid the UAS but was unable and the UAS impacted the main rotor resulting in substantial damage to a main rotor blade. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation.

The UAS operator reported that he was conducting operations over a construction site. The area was inside of the class C airspace of a nearby airport and the UAS operator was using a Federal Aviation Administration Certificate of wavier or authorization (COA) that had been previously obtained by the construction company who hired him. The UAS operator reported that he was flying at an altitude of 180 ft, and that before the flight he had not realized that this altitude was above the maximum altitude of 150 ft imposed by the COA. The COA also required the UAS operator to notify the air traffic control tower at the nearby airport at least 15 minutes prior to the proposed start time of any operations. The UAS operator stated, and a review by the of contact records by the air traffic control tower confirmed, that no call was received from the UAS operator notifying them of the operation.

Probable Cause: The UAS operator’s failure to operate within the limitations of the COA that he was using to operate inside class C airspace, which resulted in a collision between the UAS and the helicopter.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report





Revision history:

01-Jan-2024 18:38 Captain Adam Added
09-Jan-2024 18:04 Captain Adam Updated [Time, Operator, Damage, Accident report]
28-Jan-2024 19:26 Captain Adam Updated [Operator, Phase, Source, Narrative, Category]

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