NTSB Identification: LAX94LA126.
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Accident occurred Monday, February 14, 1994 in BARSTOW, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/14/1995
Aircraft: BELL 206L-1, registration: N1077N
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot intended to do several autorotations at the end of his daily flights to verify a new clutch assembly which was installed on the helicopter that morning. The pilot said that it was twilight, but that he could clearly see the runway lights when he lifted off to do the autorotations. The pilot made one successful autorotation and decided on a second one to check the main rotor rpm. The pilot said that during the second one the main rotor rpm was low, but he did not get a low rotor warning horn or light. The pilot said that during the descent he was trying to bring the main rotor rpm up by varying his airspeed until the flare point. Witnesses reported that the helicopter began a flare about 50 feet above the runway, then landed hard. The helicopter became airborne again, began to spin, and then landed hard, rolling onto its left side. No evidence of mechanical failure was found during an examination of the helicopter. Sunset occurred at 1733 and the end of civil twilight was at 1759. The accident was at 1802.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilot's misjudgment of the landing flare altitude during a night autorotation while preoccupied with maintaining proper main rotor rpm. A factor in the accident was the pilot's visual perception which was affected by the outside ambient lighting conditions.

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