NTSB Identification: SEA97LA112.
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Accident occurred Thursday, May 15, 1997 in SNOHOMISH, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/13/1998
Aircraft: Bell 47G-3B, registration: N8491E
Injuries: 1 Minor.
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 pilot was in a commercial helicopter pilot upgrade training program. He was not yet rated for helicopters, but did hold an instructor's endorsement granting helicopter solo privileges. At the time of the accident, he was aborting a practice landing in wind conditions which were conducive to an unanticipated right yaw (also known as loss of tail rotor effectiveness, or LTE) event. As he completed a turn to downwind, the helicopter made an uncommanded right turn. Despite the application of left pedal and forward cyclic by the pilot, the helicopter 'continued to rotate violently until impact on the left side.' FAA inspectors, who examined the helicopter at the accident site, reported that they found no evidence of a mechanical malfunction; they stated that the tail rotor system was intact.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's encounter with of a loss of tail rotor effectiveness (LTE) situation, and his subsequent inadequate remedial action. Related factors included: wind conditions that were conducive to an unanticipated right yaw event, and the pilot's limited experience in helicopters. Full narrative available
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