NTSB Identification: IAD97FA123.
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Accident occurred Saturday, September 27, 1997 in PITTSFIELD, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/09/1999
Aircraft: Fairchild Hiller FH-1100, registration: N5045F
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.
NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The pilot was attempting an autorotation, as part of a biennial flight review. He climbed the helicopter to 800 feet AGL, reduced the airspeed to 80 mph, lowered the collective, rolled off the throttle to split the needles, but the needles did not split. As he continued to roll off the throttle, he noticed the rpm's in the low green area, and the helicopter began to descend rapidly. Within 5 seconds, the helicopter descended, and landed hard against a bank rising from a swamp. A post accident investigation revealed the pilot's collective in the full up position. Control continuity was established from the pilot's collective and cyclic control, to the main rotor system. The left collective and left cyclic sustained impact damage. No pre-impact abnormalities were observed. The first pilot receiving the biennial reported over 499 hours of flight experience in this make and model, and used the helicopter in a scenic ride business. The second pilot had logged over 5,186 of total helicopter flight experience, including 4 hours in this make and model, which he logged 30 years ago. Since his biennial in a Cessna 150, he logged over 150 hours of helicopter time.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The first pilot's improper procedures for an autorotation, and improper flare which resulted in a hard landing. Also causal was the second pilot's inadequate remedial action. Full narrative available
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