NTSB Identification: IAD96LA045.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, February 20, 1996 in WEST POINT, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/23/1996
Aircraft: Advanced Technology ULTRA SPORT 254, registration: N254AS
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.

According to a witness, the helicopter was hovering backward at a pace he described as '...a brisk walk...[then it stopped its rearward flight and] pitched the nose down to transition to forward flight.' The aircraft continued to pitch over into a progressively steeper nose down attitude, and descended into the terrain. The pilot stated that he '...initially applied forward cyclic and positive collective in order to fly through translational lift and enter stable forward flight...I realized I had no control in the forward longitudinal axis...impacted the ground approximately two seconds after the uncommanded pitch acceleration. Postaccident examination of the helicopter and videotaped evidence of the accident did not revealed a preimpact malfunction or anomaly. The pilot reported that he had 3,554 hours total flight time, including 2,032 hours in rotorcraft/helicopter. The pilot indicated that he had 2.2 hours in the accident make and model aircraft.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain control of the helicopter during low altitude flight/maneuvering, which resulted in the helicopter impacting terrain. A related factor was the pilot's lack of flight experience in the make and model of helicopter.

Full narrative available

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