NTSB Identification: LAX97LA150.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, April 16, 1997 in LIHUE, KAUAI, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/21/1998
Aircraft: Duff MINI-500, registration: N13118
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

A witness stated that the helicopter appeared to be about 500 feet agl and that he could hear a 'tick-tick-tick' sound as the aircraft started yawing to the left and right. The yawing motion was followed by a left roll to an inverted attitude from which the aircraft descended nose down to the ground and crashed. At the time that the roll began, the tail rotor and gearbox were observed to separate from the tail boom. Examination of the helicopter did not disclose any pre-accident engine, fuel system, or flight control system malfunctions or abnormalities. Black paint, the color of the tail boom, was evident on the leading edge of both main rotor blades, and four impact dents were found on the tail boom. Paint transfer indicated that the upper right-hand windshield had also been impacted by the main rotor blades. Review of the student pilot's flight records disclosed that he had obtained 12 hours of helicopter dual instruction in 1991, with only 1 hour listed for autorotations. No record of additional dual instruction was found between 1991 and the date of the accident.

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

the student pilot's improper use of the helicopter flight controls, which resulted in rotor contact with the tail boom and loss of control. Factors relating to the accident were: the pilot's lack of total and recent training and experience in airborne control of helicopters.

Full narrative available

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