NTSB Identification: FTW97LA327.
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Accident occurred Sunday, August 24, 1997 in TERRELL, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/26/1998
Aircraft: Robinson R22 BETA, registration: N8057Z
Injuries: 1 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.

The student was certificated as a single-engine land airplane pilot, and was taking instruction in a Robinson R22 helicopter. According to him, while on a solo cross-country flight, the helicopter began to experience engine vibrations with a loss of engine rpms. He initiated an autorotation to an open field, and approximately 40 feet above ground level, he began the landing flare, pulling up on the collective at the same time. He stated that he noticed 'the aircraft feeling funny,' and reduced 'some' of the collective. Approximately 8 feet above ground level, the helicopter 'just dropped' to the ground. The pilot received a back injury during the accident. He had difficulty egressing from the helicopter, noting that that his right side was numb. Examination of the engine revealed no abnormalities or deficiencies. The engine was placed on a test stand and operated for 15 minutes. The engine operated normally throughout all parameters.

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

the student pilot's premature flare for landing from an autorotation, and the ensuing loss of rotor rpm, which resulted in a hard landing. A factor relating to the accident was: partial loss of engine power for undetermined reason(s).

Full narrative available

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