Mosquito - Fatal 21.9.14

Steve_UK

Active Member
FAA Preliminary

21.9.14 - Fatal

AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES. UNREGISTERED MOSQUITO HELO. CASCADE, MT

as per FAA Preliminary
 

cburg

Newbie
The factory posted:

There's been no further news, both the FAA and NTSB have been in contact with the factory with questions and requests for information.
-----

We are investigating. I will post when I have any more information. Thoughts and prayers for his wife.
 

cburg

Newbie
Photos show it was in the rocky hills/mountains...not my favorite terrain to fly over.

http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2014/09/fatal-accident-occurred-september-22.html

Mosquito Aviation XE: Fatal accident occurred September 21, 2014 in Cascade County, Montana

An Ipswich man was killed on Sunday when the ultra-light helicopter he was piloting crashed in Montana, authorities said.

In an e-mail, Cascade County, Mont., Sheriff Bob Edwards identified the victim as 62-year-old John Joseph Maliszewski.

Edwards said Maliszewski “was involved in a helicopter crash in an area in Cascade County called the Dearborn. Mr. Maliszewski did die as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. ... Mr. Maliszewski’s family has been notified.”

Edwards added that the “helicopter is an ultra-light Mosquito single seat helicopter. The investigation is ongoing at this point. The Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the [Federal Aviation Administration] is conducting the investigation.”

The crash occurred at about 5 p.m. on Sunday, Edwards wrote. He added that Maliszewski was the owner of the helicopter, and that his level of experience as a pilot was not known as of Monday.

Edwards said he was unsure why Maliszewski was in Montana at the time of the crash.

Attempts to reach possible relatives of Maliszewski in Massachusetts and New Hampshire were unsuccessful on Monday.

Allen Kenitzer, an FAA spokesman, wrote in an e-mail that “according to local authorities, there was one person onboard the aircraft” at the time of the crash. He did not say how long the FAA investigation may take. Kenitzer said the aircraft crashed “under unknown circumstances.”

Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said the NTSB is not investigating the crash, since the helicopter is not required to have a registration number with the FAA. The NTSB is not required to open a review in such cases, Knudson said.

An entry in an NTSB accident database showed that the pilot of a similar helicopter, a Schulman Mosquito XEL, was killed in a crash in Halifax, Mass., in September 2010.

In that instance, the aircraft “was hovering just above the trees, [and] the tail section yawed left and right, followed by the main rotor blades tipping left and right. The helicopter then entered a spin and nosed over and impacted the trees,” the entry said.

The NTSB determined that the probable cause of that crash was the pilot’s loss of control while hovering, and that a contributing factor was the pilot’s limited experience flying the helicopter.

Another pilot of an Innovator Technologies Mosquito XEL helicopter suffered serious injuries but survived a crash in September 2013 in Felda, Fla., during a landing attempt, according to the NTSB database.

http://www.bostonglobe.com

AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES. UNREGISTERED MOSQUITO HELO. CASCADE, MT

Flight Standards District Office - Federal Aviation Administration

Any witnesses should email [email protected], and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email [email protected].


GREAT FALLS -- Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards has confirmed that a man died in a small helicopter crash near Dearborn Sunday afternoon.

Edwards also confirmed that the man was the only person on board the helicopter.

The crash happened just after 5:00 p.m. Sunday along Dearborn River Road near the Cascade County/Lewis & Clark County line.

The Dearborn Volunteer Fire Department, Cascade County Sheriff's Department, and Great Falls EMS responded to the scene.

The helicopter was reported to be a single-seat "mosquito" helicopter.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are en route and expected to arrive Monday morning.

The man's body is being taken to the state lab in Missoula for autopsy.

Authorities have not yet identified the victim and no information on the cause of the crash is available at this time.

Story and Comments: http://www.krtv.com
 

Steve_UK

Active Member
""Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said the agency is not investigating the crash because the helicopter is not required to have a registration number with the FAA. The transportation safety board is not required to open a review in such cases, Knudson said.""

This is a pity. Difficult to quantify or learn from accidents that bypass NTSB.
 

cburg

Newbie
Agreed...thankfully the factory will let us know more as they learn it.

The guy had a pilot loss of control crash in 2010.

""Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said the agency is not investigating the crash because the helicopter is not required to have a registration number with the FAA. The transportation safety board is not required to open a review in such cases, Knudson said.""

This is a pity. Difficult to quantify or learn from accidents that bypass NTSB.
 

cburg

Newbie
http://www.innovator.mosquito.net.nz/mbbs2/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=3315&posts=3

After reading the recent article concerning the crash in Montana I realized that a commonality exists between a near accident I had with my Mosquito after towing with an open trailer. I wanted to share something that might help someone in future who plans to trailer their helicopter. In 2008, I suffered a partial tail-rotor control failure while hovering. I was able to safely land the helicopter. After shut-down, I discovered that one tail-rotor pitch link had completely broken. I had effectively only half of my tail rotor authority. After a lot of head-scratching and examining all the facts, I was able to trace this failure back to my trailer and helicopter tie-down/securing technique. During my road trip with the helicopter in tow at speeds of 70-80 MPH, the tail rotor was secured in a fashion that caused excessive fatigue on the tail-rotor pitch link. After closely examining the failed pitch-link it was clear that it had not only bent, but completely broke after approximately 1-2 hours of flight following the road trip while towing the helicopter on the open trailer. Shame on me for not finding this during the pre-flight. It was my first Bensen Days and there were a lot of people interested in the Mosquito which distracted me during my initial pre-flight. I actually had two pre-flights and missed it on both of them. During the road trip, the tail rotor was secured to the tail boom in a way that caused the opposite tail rotor to be out of alignment with the slip-stream of air putting excessive side-load tail rotor and hence on the pitch link. Please pay careful attention to your trailer technique and above all, DO A VERY THOROUGH PRE-FLIGHT INSPECTION AFTER A TRAILER TOW.
-----
BA
 

cburg

Newbie
Posted on the Mosquito Forum:

Final Accident Report

The FAA and NTSB did not undertake an investigation into this accident since the helicopter was being flown under the ultralight category. I was able to visit and document the wreckage after it had been removed from the site and sent to a storage yard in Great Falls, Montana. After review by myself, Dwight and others in the organization we are able to present the following report.

There was considerable damage to the aircraft during the impact and subsequent transport to the storage facility. There was no evidence of fatigue related failure of any mechanical components. Both gear boxes worked properly. All coupling components were in place and intact. The engine was brought engine home for disassembly and inspection. There was no evidence of seizure or piston failure. Each electrical component was tried on a running engine and all were found to be in working order. The fuel filters were missing from the wreckage and so not able to be inspected. The fuel pump was intact and working properly. Both carburators were present but severely damaged during the impact and/or removal.

What was clear however was that there was minimal rotor rotation at the time of impact, even though it could turn freely. This was evidenced by the relatively undamaged leading edge of the rotor blade tips and also by the fact that all pitch link rod ends were still intact. All rotor strikes at operating rotor rpm result in failure of the pitch link rods ends due to the extreme stress placed on them during the impact event.

There were two witness reports. One saw the helicopter fly overhead and up the side of the mountain. He then watch it turn around and return and then begin a slow spiral to the ground with increasing vertical speed. A second, closer witness did not see the helicopter as he was in his home. However he heard it fly by, fade and then return and then heard the engine surging and then eventually the sound of the impact.

The police who showed up initially said they could smell fuel but the FAA inspector who showed up to examine the site checked the fuel tank with a stick through the fill port and found it to be completely dry. Although according to the inspector the tank appeared to be relatively intact it is possible there could have been a breach.

From the above evidence the conclusion is that an issue with the fuel delivery to the engine initiated the sequence of events leading to the crash. This could have been due to a lack of fuel as a result of forgetting to fill up, clogged fuel filters or a carburator problem. The engine lost power intermittently or could not hold rpm due to fuel starvation. The pilot did not enter autorotation and rotor rpm decayed along with the resulting loss of lift. Tail rotor pitch was not removed and so torque overcompensation resulted in the slow rotation of the aircraft as main rotor torque was lost. Loss of lift resulted in the impact.

This is a tragic event and we are all deeply saddened by this loss. At the risk of sounding disrespectful, what makes it even more tragic is the fact that this accident was completely preventable. As tragic as this is I would be remiss not to take this opportunity to drive home again, a point that learning and regularly practicing autorotations is as essential to rotorcraft flight as the rotor overhead. I’ve since learned that John was known as a risk taker. He had admitted to others that he had barely learned auto’s and never practiced them, and even though this was met with chastisement it had no effect. Again, I don’t want to be disrespectful but this approach to helicopter flight safety is entirely unacceptable. Even taking the approach that “if I don’t practice I’ll only affect myself” is wrong. It affects all of us as can be clearly seen here, both on a personal level and as a sport aviation community. Auto’s must be practiced regularly so that the response becomes automatic in the event of an emergency. Practicing regularly means you won’t “freeze up” when the engine falters or fails. You’ll automatically do what you’ve done once or twice on every flight you taken, knowing with confidence that you can land just as you would with the engine running. At worst you may damage your helicopter, but you will walk away.

John was living the dream, stopping at points along his way to Montana to take his chopper out and fly the area, exactly what I used to dream about during design and development. But every dream has risks and to keep it alive we absolutely have to manage those risks by preparing for the problems that can arise. So while we mourn John’s passing let’s make sure we learn from it as well so we can make sure this doesn’t happen again.
 

cburg

Newbie
Excellent analysis and advice. I practice autos on every flight, and plan to continue. I always take off with a full tank. I have a red float in my fuel sight tube which I watch closely. You never know if you may develop a fuel leak, so do not (only) use your watch. I ignore my fuel gauge completely.
 
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cburg

Newbie
I love aircraft with sight tubes or clear tanks I can see. I never trust or use fuel guages.

Yes, sight tubes could be more dangerous as far as a post crash leak/fire but I like to see the level directly with my eyes.

Excellent analysis and advice. I practice autos on every flight, and plan to continue. I always take off with a full tank. I have a red float in my fuel sight tube which I watch closely. You never know if you may develop a fuel leak, so do not use your watch. I ignore my fuel gauge completely.
 
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cburg

Newbie
I also developed a habit years ago (after forgetting to put on the gas cap), is put the cap on my seat when I'm re-fueling (some caps have lanyards).
 

cburg

Newbie
(Cross-posted)

Posted by: MikeH

Hey guys. I have a little bit of background information regarding this incident that I have, thus far, kept to myself. I was waiting for an official finding on the accident before I spoke up publicly.

I was at the factory, working on my helicopter, when John brought his Mosquito in to repair damage suffered during a previous incident. You all may, or may not, know that John had lost his right hand many years before in an industrial machine shop accident. He had a prosthetic right hand, which he had a specific prosthesis for flying his Mosquito, which was a hand with a strap to wrap around the cyclic. He had an incident with his prosthetic hand coming off the cyclic during hover, resulting in a very hard landing and significant damage. He trailered the helicopter to Trenton to have repairs made.

Adam worked on the helicopter, with John helping, for a couple days fixing all the damage. I had plenty of time to talk to John during this process.

John was very forthcoming with information regarding all the work he had previously done to his helicopter, his previous aviation experience, etc....but he was not accepting of any kind of criticism.

Now, before I dive into the deep end, I feel I should explain what experience I have, and why I am qualified to make any kind of comment. I am an 11,000+ hour professional pilot(honestly, I quit keeping track of exact flight times years ago, so it's just a WAG), with about 10,000 hours in airplanes and 1,000 hours in helicopters. I hold an ATP with many type ratings in fixed wing aircraft, and a Commercial/Instrument in helicopters, as well as a CFI/CFII in ASEL/AMEL. I have flown many different types of helicopters(including experimentals), but I have not yet flown a Mosquito. I am in the process of building an XET.

That being said.....

During the repair process at the factory, I asked John about where he flew and how he had to adjust the carbs to compensate. He had no knowledge of how to adjust the carbs, and Adam did all the adjustments, all the while trying his best to teach John how to do them.

The last day John was there, he began questioning Dwight about autorotations....how to do them, the aerodynamics involved, etc.. I interjected myself into the discussion, mostly listening. Dwight had a tremendous amount of good information for John regarding how an autorotation works, the aerodynamics involved, and how he should train himself to do them(specifically, starting with hover autos and eventually moving on to power recovery autos from altitude). Dwight made it very clear that he should NOT be flying his helicopter out of a hover until he has absolutely mastered hover autos, as they are the final step to a full down auto. During this conversation, after John had asked so many questions that I couldn't keep my mouth shut anymore, I suggested that he go flying with an instructor in a two seat helicopter, specifically a Schweizer 300, for a couple hours to learn autos and other survival skills. John immediately dismissed my suggestion, literally turned his back to me, and kept questioning Dwight on technique for autos. Dwight did a damn fine job of explaining the deed, but the bottom line is that if you haven't experienced it, you don't know S***. Those of you that have had helicopter training and experience will know this is true.

Based on what we know, this accident was completely avoidable had the pilot known how to conduct a proper autorotation. Period. End of discussion.

Let's face it...there are VERY few people that can teach themselves how to fly an aircraft and survive all scenarios that can realistically be expected. I'm not one of those people. I have trained tremendously in several different types of aircraft, including airplanes and helicopters, to be able to save my own life and the lives of my passengers. I take this very seriously. Let me be very clear here....

....VERY CLEAR......

If you are going to fly a helicopter, airplane, glider, etc....get training! If you don't, you will most likely become a statistic.
 

bryancobb

Junior Member
I have nothing but praise for John U. and his masterpiece he calls the Mosquito. It is a marvel.

Here's the facts though. There is only 2 possible reasons for designing and marketing a helicopter that falls under FAR Part 103:
1) Bragging rights - "People say it's impossible to create a flyable helicopter under 254 pounds. B.S. I did it.
2) To allow untrained people who have no business leaving the ground in a helicopter, to do it.

That's it. This accident is sad, but it is precisely what the helicopter was designed for. He had no reason to get any training. Yes that's dumb, but if John U., Dwight, and Innovator have a true desire to have the fleet have a good safety record, then they should insist that every Mosquito be heavy enough to NOT be an ultralight, and they should insist that DAR's put the statement in the Program Letter that says, Pilot of this aircraft must hold at least a Private Pilot Rotorcraft Helicopter rating and have a current Medical, and a current Flight Review that was accomplished IN A HELICOPTER.

Another statement pertaining to the NTSB and FAA running away from this accident. We cannot have our cake and eat it too. The privilege of flying without and license or training makes us "self-policing and self-investigating." If we want access to the expert investigators, we can always get an N-Number and fly under GA rules.
 
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Monarchist

MTO Sport Owner
Anyone who would fly a helicopter solo without having ever practiced autorotations...correction, a LOT OF AUTOROTATIONS...is an idiot. Autorotations are the most important maneuver you will ever practice, so you better practice them OFTEN if you intend to stay current in helicopters.

I was unaware that the Mosquito people would actually sell you a machine without requiring this training. Yes, I know it's not required in an ultralight, but from a "cover your ass" standpoint, it would make sense to require it of every purchaser.

-John
 

bryancobb

Junior Member
...I was unaware that the Mosquito people would actually sell you a machine without requiring this training...
They give you a $2000 discount if you can prove you have enough dual in your logbook to solo a GA helicopter, if I am not mistaken.

That's it! If you are not concerned about the $2 grand, you can just pay it .

If you have enough money, you can drive to Trenton, plop down the cash, and go home with a 100% built and test-flown, brand new helicopter, and when you get home, fill it up with gas and climb out to 5000' without ever so much as talking to a CFI.

You can get by with that more in fixed wing because it takes about 1/10 the skill to fly a Quicksilver open frame ultralight as it does any helicopter.

If I am not mistaken, this is the first fatal in any Mosquito that can probably be credited to an unskilled pilot flying and which would probably not have happened if he had been a REAL helicopter pilot?
 

Monarchist

MTO Sport Owner
...which would probably not have happened if he had been a REAL helicopter pilot?
Sounds like it...ran out of gas, brief moment of denial, hesitation on the collective, and that's it, game over. Autorotations train you to filter out the denial.

Any idea as to what kind of blade inertia on the Mosquito, i.e. how much time to get the collective down before its too late?
 

cburg

Newbie
Note...a lot of people, like me...bought them from the builder/interim owner. I'm the third owner. But of course agree totally with the need for training. A rating is preferred, but at least a solo sign-off before attempting to fly the UL version...the absolute minimum IMO. But $300 per hour adds up quick...the temptation to cut corners for the UL version is scary.

My XET requires a rating...

I feel that any rated pilot can safely and easily fly a Mosquito...but otherwise...I have doubts. I've flown six types of helicopters and the Mosquito is by far the easiest to fly.


Anyone who would fly a helicopter solo without having ever practiced autorotations...correction, a LOT OF AUTOROTATIONS...is an idiot. Autorotations are the most important maneuver you will ever practice, so you better practice them OFTEN if you intend to stay current in helicopters.

I was unaware that the Mosquito people would actually sell you a machine without requiring this training. Yes, I know it's not required in an ultralight, but from a "cover your ass" standpoint, it would make sense to require it of every purchaser.

-John
 
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