NTSB Identification: ATL97LA067.
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Accident occurred Thursday, May 01, 1997 in LAKE WALES, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/21/1998
Aircraft: Hughes 269A, registration: N37754
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.

The certified flight instructor (CFI) was demonstrating a 180 degree turn autorotation with a power recovery. The CFI entered the maneuver approximately 600 feet above the ground. About 3/4 through the 180 degree turn, he noticed that the rotor speed was low. When the CFI decided to return the throttle to full power, there was no engine response. The CFI continued the approach, which resulted in a hard landing on the heel of the left skid, and the helicopter rolling over. Examination of the helicopter failed to disclose a mechanical problem or a system malfunction. During a functional check of the engine, it operated between idle and a moderated power range. Examination of the airframe disclosed that the skids were spread, and the landing gear damper assembly was fractured. According to FAA Advisory Circular, AC 61-13A, during the flare phase of an autorotation, the cyclic control should be moved forward to level the helicopter in preparation for landing. The advisory circular also stated that 'if a landing is to be made, allow the helicopter to descend vertically. Apply collective pitch smoothly to check the descent and cushion the landing.'

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

loss of engine power for undetermined reason(s); and the flight instructor's improper flare and improper use of the flight controls, while flaring for an autorotative landing.

Full narrative available

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