NTSB Identification: FTW95LA098.
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Accident occurred Sunday, January 22, 1995 in PLACITAS, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/19/1995
Aircraft: ROBINSON R22 BETA, registration: N269ME
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

WHILE TRANSITING A RIDGE LINE AT 8,100 FEET MSL, THE FLIGHT ENCOUNTERED TURBULENCE AND THE PILOT WAS UNABLE TO MAINTAIN TERRAIN CLEARANCE. THE HELICOPTER SETTLED INTO TREES ALONG THE SIDE OF A SLOPE. PRIOR TO THE LOSS OF CONTROL THE HELICOPTER WAS CLIMBING ABOUT 600 FEET PER MINUTE AT MAXIMUM CONTINUOUS POWER AT 150 TO 200 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL. TURBULENCE RESULTED IN LOSS OF AIRSPEED AND ROTOR RPM DECREASED. SUBSEQUENTLY THE HELICOPTER SETTLED INTO TREES. HAD THE PILOTS CHOSEN A LESS DIRECT ROUTE TO THE NORTH THE MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED.

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

THE PILOT OPERATED BEYOND THE CLIMB CAPABILITY OF THE HELICOPTER, RESULTING IN INADEQUATE ALTITUDE AND TERRAIN CLEARANCE OVER MOUNTAINOUS RISING TERRAIN. A FACTOR WAS TURBULENCE.

Full narrative available

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