PKBWL report – Accident, Bell 429 (SP-KKS), Piasek airfield (EPPY), 22/02/2021

On 22 February 2021, around 23:27 hrs LMT , a pilot (male, aged 51, holder of CPL(H)) took off with a Bell 429 helicopter, SP-KKS registration marks, for a tourist flight with three passengers on-board. The take-off was performed from an off-field area, located in Zagwiździe (about 5 NM north of Opole), the planned destination was the EPPY helipad, located in Piasek near Pszczyna. The landing site was covered with patches of fog. During approach, the pilot turned on the landing light, which resulted in a loss of visibility due to fog. At around 23:58 hrs LMT, the main rotor blades collided with tall trees, after that the helicopter collided with the ground and overturned, resting on the left side. The pilot and the front seat passenger had no shoulder safety belts fastened and were killed on the spot. Two passengers seated in the passenger cabin were seriously injured. The helicopter was destroyed.

Causes of the occurrence:
1) Pilot’s error consisting in an attempt to land without having terrain in sight.
2) Pilot’s loss of spatial orientation during approach after turning on the landing light in dense fog.

Contributing factors:
1) Continuation of flight despite deterioration of the weather conditions below the VFR minima.
2) Patches of radiation fog covering the landing area.
3) Little experience of the pilot in flying the Bell 429 aircraft.

PKBWL has not proposed safety recommendations after the investigation.

Read the report.

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