NTSB Identification: CHI97LA277.
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Accident occurred Sunday, August 31, 1997 in COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/30/1998
Aircraft: Hughes 269A, registration: N7058T
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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 Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE), reported that he was administering a Commercial, Rotorcraft-Helicopter Practical Test to an applicant (student). The DPE instructed the student to perform a 'simulated engine failure' from 450 agl over runway 13, and the DPE initiated the maneuver by reducing the throttle to idle. The student did not respond, and the rotor RPM decreased. After assessing the situation, the DPE took control of the helicopter. He tried to recover from the maneuver by decreasing the collective to the full down position, increasing the throttle, and applying slight forward cyclic. The DPE was unable to recover from the maneuver, and the helicopter impacted in a slight nose low attitude, then it bounced and came to rest on its left side. A witness to the accident said that he saw the helicopter at 50 to 75 feet above the ground before its forward speed stopped and it entered a steep, spiral descent. After reaching the accident site, the witness heard the student ask the DPE what had happened and if something failed. The DPE's response was, 'No...it was me, I failed.'

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

inadequate supervision by the designated examiner by failing to ensure a timely autorotation recovery was initiated. A related factor was: the student pilot allowed the rotor rpm to diminish after the examiner simulated a loss of engine power.

Full narrative available

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