Recently, a Robinson R44 Cadet helicopter crashed in the town of Rowlett, Texas. Multiple people witnessed the helicopter fall to the earth, killing both pilots. Witnesses stated the helicopter fell very fast and the tail section was somehow separated in flight. Video footage of the helicopter confirms the tail rotor separating in mid-flight and then the helicopter catching on fire once it impacted the earth. Unfortunately, both pilots died at the scene.
The popular Robinson R44 helicopter is manufactured by the Robinson Helicopter Company out of Torrance, California. The R44 helicopter, originally approved for use in 1992, has been a very popular trainer and sightseeing helicopter for many years. With the R44 Robinson created a helicopter that reduced the cost of helicopter aviation enough to be affordable in many non-commercial settings, such as training new pilots or even for personal use.
Although experts have not reached a conclusion as to the cause of the crash, reports state that the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the incident. The R44’s design relies on a semi-rigid two-blade rotor system which has been around for many years. Although the design has been used effectively for years, it can have serious problems when the limits of the helicopter are exceeded, causing a condition known as mast bumping. Unfortunately, this condition can have catastrophic consequences such as loss of the main rotor, or when the main rotor blades bend or flap enough to damage the aircraft. It is likely in the current crash the tail rotor was removed by flapping the main rotor. Without the tail rotor, the aircraft would be unrecoverable for the pilot.
If you or someone you know has suffered injuries or the loss of a family member due to the negligence of a product manufacturer, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz, & Stogner by calling 713-222-7211 or toll-free at 1-800-594-4884.