NTSB Identification: NYC98LA043.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, December 16, 1997 in BELLE VERNON, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/29/2000
Aircraft: Robinson R22 BETA, registration: N55TP
Injuries: 1 Fatal,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 performing an out-of-ground-effect hover with a 10 knot tailwind in a Robinson R-22. When the pilot raised the collective to maneuver, and the helicopter began to spin to the right. The helicopter spun four times, descended, and impacted the ground. The pilot had about 100 hours of helicopter experience, and about 10 hours of out-of-ground-effect hover experience. After the accident, the pilot told a police officer that he exceeded the limitations of the tail rotor. FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 90-95 stated all single main rotor helicopters were susceptible to loss of tail rotor effectiveness (LTE). The AC advised pilots that when maneuvering between hover and 30 knots to avoid; tailwinds, out of ground effect hover and high power demand such as lowspeed downwind turns. It also advised the pilots to be aware of wind direction and velocity. In 1995, the FAA sent a letter to all U.S helicopter manufactures recommending they include a discussion on LTE in the operator's handbooks and flight manuals. The Robinson Helicopter Company has not complied with that request.

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

The pilot's improper out-of-ground hover procedure, which resulted in a loss of tailrotor effectiveness.

Full narrative available

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