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NTSB Final Report: Cedar City, UT

Location:

Cedar City, Utah

Accident Number:

WPR22LA267

Date & Time:

July 25, 2022, 08:45 Local

Registration:

N497SU

Aircraft:                                  ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II

Aircraft Damage:            Substantial

Defining Event:                      Loss of control in flight                       Injuries:                                                1 Minor, 1 None

Flight Conducted Under:       Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

 

Analysis

The helicopter flight instructor was performing straight-in autorotation with power recovery maneuvers with a student pilot. On the third autorotation, the flight instructor stated that the student started the maneuver at 700 ft above ground level (agl) with the main rotor rpm at 100%. During the glide, when the RPM decayed to 90% and the airspeed decreased to 60 knots, the instructor intervened, and he attempted to recover the lost RPM. About 100 ft agl, the instructor prepared for a roll-on landing. The helicopter subsequently landed hard, rolled over on it’s left side and sustained substantial damage when the main rotor blades severed the tailboom. The instructor reported that there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The student pilot’s failure to maintain rotor rpm and airspeed and the flight instructor's inadequate remedial action to regain helicopter control during the straight-in autorotation which resulted in a hard landing.

Findings

Personnel issues - Use of equip/system - Student/instructed pilot

Aircraft - Airspeed - Not attained/maintained

Personnel issues - Monitoring other person - Instructor/check pilot

Aircraft -  Descent rate - Not attained/maintained

Personnel issues - Aircraft control - Instructor/check pilot


Factual Information

History of Flight

Autorotation - Loss of control in flight (Defining event)

Autorotation - Hard landing

Pilot Information

 

Certificate:

Commercial; Flight instructor

Age:

28,Male

Airplane Rating(s):

None

Seat Occupied:

Left

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

Helicopter

Restraint Used:

3-point

Instrument Rating(s):

Helicopter

Second Pilot Present:

Yes

Instructor Rating(s):

Helicopter

Toxicology Performed:

 

Medical Certification:

Class 2 Without waivers/limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

June 1, 2022

Occupational Pilot:

Yes

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

January 21, 2021

Flight Time:

376 hours (Total, all aircraft), 302 hours (Total, this make and model), 296 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 93 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 57 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Student pilot Information

Certificate:

Student                                                      Age:

Male

Airplane Rating(s):

None                                                           Seat Occupied:

Right

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

None                                                                    Restraint Used:

3-point

Instrument Rating(s):

None                                                                    Second Pilot Present:

Yes

Instructor Rating(s):

None                                                                    Toxicology Performed:

 

Medical Certification:

Class 2 With waivers/limitations           Last FAA Medical Exam:

January 24, 2022

Occupational Pilot:

No                                                               Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

 

Flight Time:

27 hours (Total, all aircraft), 27 hours (Total, this make and model)

 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY

Registration:

N497SU

Model/Series:

R44 II

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Year of Manufacture:

2006

Amateur Built:

 

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

11441

Landing Gear Type:

None; Skid

Seats:

4

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

June 28, 2022 100 hour

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

2500 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

1

Airframe Total Time:

5286.9 Hrs as of last inspection

Engine Manufacturer:

 

ELT:

C126 installed, not activated

Engine Model/Series:

 

Registered Owner:

 

Rated Power:

 

Operator:

 

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

Pilot school (141)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual (VMC)

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

KCDC,5590 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

10 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

08:53 Local

Direction from Accident Site:

88°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Clear

Visibility

 

Lowest Ceiling:

None

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

/                                                   Turbulence Type

Forecast/Actual:

None / None

Wind Direction:

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

N/A / N/A

Altimeter Setting:

30.2 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

24°C / 14°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

 

Departure Point:

Cedar City, UT (KCDC)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

Company VFR

Destination:

Cedar City, UT

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

07:00 Local

Type of Airspace:

Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 Minor, 1 None

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Passenger Injuries:

 

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

 

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

1 Minor, 1 None

Latitude, Longitude:

37.70235,-113.30115

Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Johnson, Scott

 

Additional Participating Persons:

Kent Gibbons; Federal Aviation Administration; Salt Lake City , UT

 

Original Publish Date:

December 2, 2022                                                                                     Investigation Class:

4

Note:

The NTSB did not travel to the scene of this accident.

 

Investigation Docket:

https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket?ProjectID=105568

 

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