NTSB Identification: ANC97LA005.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, October 29, 1996 in HAINES, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: Ken Seright ROTORWAY EXEC 162F, registration: N711KN
Injuries: 1 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.

The certificated private airplane pilot, the sole occupant & holder of a solo endorsement for helicopters, was beginning a cross-country flight in an experimental homebuilt helicopter. After takeoff, he heard a sharp bang & observed smoke in the cockpit. He declared an emergency, entered an autorotation, & selected an emergency landing area on a beach, but the area was covered with large boulders. During the flare & landing, the engine responded momentarily, when the pilot raised the collective pitch control, but the engine did not have sufficient power to hover. The helicopter sustained damage to the landing gear skids, the tail rotor, & the tail boom structure adjacent to the tail rotor assembly. An exam revealed the engine compartment was coated with engine coolant. The air intake filter was saturated with coolant, & 1 electronic ignition system was rendered inoperative from coolant saturation. A pressure test of the coolant system revealed a leak & spraying of coolant from a coolant pump manifold fitting. The pilot indicated the fitting had a rubber hose attached by a clamp, & coolant was leaking at the attach point. Also, he said the hose had been installed with excessive tension at the fitting due to it being 1/2 inch too short. He had accrued 47 hrs in helicopters.

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

a leaking coolant hose that saturated the induction air filter and one electronic ignition system with coolant. Unsuitable terrain for a forced landing was a related factor in the accident.

Full narrative available

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