ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 39402
Last updated: 5 December 2020
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Type:Silhouette image of generic R22 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Robinson R22A
Owner/operator:Helicopter Adventures Inc
Registration: N8475A
C/n / msn: 0389
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Moraga, 8 miles NE of Concord, California -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Concord, California (CCR/KCCR)
Destination airport:Concord, California (CCR/KCCR)
Investigating agency: NTSB
On November 3, 1987, at approximately 13:38 PST (Pacific Standard Time), N8475A, a Robinson R22 Alpha operated by Helicopter Adventures, Inc., broke up in flight during a dual instructional flight near Moraga, California. The CFI and commercial helicopter pilot student, who was preparing to re-validate his CFI helicopter certificate, were killed.

Witnesses reported observing the helicopter hovering at 400 feet agl when they heard the engine noise suddenly decrease, and a loud pop. The witnesses said they observed parts, "like sparklers," fall off the helicopter as it fell to the ground. The flight had originated 8 miles southwest, in Concord, California, about 12:30 PST, after having been refueled with 100LL AVGAS fuel.

The weather at Concord, 8 miles northeast of the accident site, at 12:45 PST was reported as 15,000 feet scattered clouds, 15 miles visibility, temperature 67 degrees F, dewpoint 48 degrees F, winds from 060 degrees at 6 knots, altimeter 30.02.

The pilot-in-command was a full-time flight instructor. On May 13 through May 16, 1987, the pilot had attended a Flight Instructor Safety Course given by the Robinson Helicopter Company in Torrance, California. The RHC "Instructor/Pilot Evaluation" sheet for the pilot reported that at the time of the course, the pilot's basic flying skills were good; however, his weak areas included: high flares, poor heading control, and late pitch pulls during hovering autos.

The RHC instructor stated that some of these problems were worked out, and reported "I don't feel he's unsafe." The RHC instructor also reported that the pilot's difficulty with proficiency was a result of having accumulated only 150 flight instructor hours at the time of the evaluation. A review of the instructor pilot's logbook revealed that, at the time of the accident, he had accumulated 236 flight instructor hours in the R22.

The pilot's logbook documented 772 total flight hours, 582 of which were in helicopters and 456 in the R22. The other pilot's logbook revealed that he had accumulated 265 total flight hours, 142 of which were accrued in helicopters
and 118 in the R22.

The main wreckage was found in the center of a dried-up cattle pond surrounded by a grass pasture and rolling foot hills that were 150 to 300 feet higher than the center of the pond. The main wreckage included the fuselage, engine, transmission, tailboom, and both rotor systems. The wreckage exhibited extensive vertical crushing and deformation.

The left side of the cockpit, including the door, lower half of the left windscreen, and both left and right side cockpit windscreens, were separated from the main wreckage and found along the wreckage path. The most distant piece, identified as the cockpit procedures checklist, was found about 1,750 feet from the main wreckage. Portions of the fragmented windshield and left fuselage came to rest in the pasture 500 feet from the main wreckage, along the helicopter's flight path.

Reconstruction of the fuselage wreckage revealed evidence that a main rotor blade intersected the forward cockpit 12 inches left of the center post and continued through the left side of the cockpit to the left rear door post. The left rudder pedal and left seat cyclic cross tube exhibited indentations that matched the leading edge profile of the main rotor blade. An outboard section of one of the main rotor blades was found wrapped around the left side of the cockpit with the leading edge of the blade resting against the forward left skid cross tube. The blade exhibited extensive leading edge damage, chord wise scoring, and deformation over the outboard half of the blade.


1. NTSB Identification: LAX88FA032 at
2. FAA:

Revision history:

24-Oct-2008 10:30 ASN archive Added
07-Feb-2016 22:45 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
18-Sep-2016 20:50 Dr.John Smith Updated [Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:23 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description