NTSB Identification: SEA97FA016.
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Accident occurred Saturday, October 19, 1996 in HALSEY, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: Robinson R22 BETA, registration: N512HH
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The 21-year-old Brazilian pilot, a newly certificated private helicopter pilot, was a student in a commercial helicopter pilot training program. According to individuals at the school who knew the pilot, he was distraught over a breakup with his girlfriend in Brazil. These individuals stated that the pilot's attitude and behavior had changed over the previous two weeks (the time frame of the breakup), and that the pilot behaved unusually on the morning of the accident. The accident flight had not been scheduled in advance, and the pilot did not leave an itinerary. The accident occurred 11 nautical miles southeast of the departure airport in an area not normally used by the school on weekends. The crash site was in a level grass field, on an east-to-west path, parallel to an east-west road. No witnesses were identified. Investigators found no evidence of preimpact mechanical problems in the helicopter wreckage, but instrument indications of low main rotor RPM existed.

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

The pilot-in-command's failure to maintain main rotor RPM, resulting in loss of control of the helicopter and collision with terrain. Factors included the pilot's lack of experience in helicopters, and interpersonal relationship problems between the pilot and his girlfriend.

Full narrative available

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