The National Transportation Safety Board has released their preliminary report regarding the helicopter crash November 16 that claimed the life of Wildlife Officer Sergeant Monty Carmikle.
NTSB Identification: CEN09TA060
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 16, 2008 in Quitman, AR
Aircraft: BELL OH-58C, registration: N153GF
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Uninjured.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.
On November 16, 2008, at 0028 central standard time, an OH-58C single-engine helicopter, N153GF, sustained substantial damage when it landed hard in a field near Quitman, Arkansas. The commercial rated pilot was not injured and the passenger was fatally injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. No flight plan was filed and night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the Public Use flight conducted under 14 CFR PART 91.
The purpose of the night surveillance flight was to support ground personnel to apprehend "spot-lighters" who were illegally hunting deer at night.
The pilot was interviewed by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector. The pilot told the inspector that he was using night vision goggles (NVGs) at the time of the accident and he had the helicopter in a hover approximately 150 feet above the ground when the low rotor rpm light illuminated. He attempted to recover but the helicopter struck the ground in a nose low, left bank attitude. An on-scene examination of the helicopter revealed that the helicopter remained upright, the tailboom was partially separated from the airframe just forward of the horizontal fins, and the left front portion of the cockpit exhibited impact damage from contact with the main rotor blades.
The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate for airplane single and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. He also held a commercial pilot certificate for rotorcraft-helicopter and instrument helicopter. His last FAA first class medical was issued on January 10, 2008. At that time, he reported a total of 1,200 civilian flight hours.
According to the FAA, the pilot flew for the Arkansas Air National Guard and had signed a contract with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to assist on missions during deer season, which started two weeks prior to the accident. He reported a total of 3,500 hours, of which, 300 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane.
Weather reported at Adams Field Airport (LIT), Little Rock, Arkansas, at 0053, was reported as wind from 250 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 01 degrees Celsius, dew point 03 degrees Celsius, and a barometric pressure setting of 30.32 inches of Mercury.