NTSB Identification: LAX98LA311.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, September 30, 1998 in SALINAS, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/08/2001
Aircraft: Robinson R22B, registration: N8340D
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 chief pilot of the flight school reported that the student helicopter pilot was briefed for his first nonsupervised solo flight. The pilot was instructed to practice traffic patterns and to fly normal approaches and takeoffs, with no emergency maneuvers. The student pilot reported that he practiced traffic patterns, then decided to practice autorotations. He entered the autorotation from approximately 800 feet agl and 70 knots of airspeed. About 200 to 300 feet agl, he initiated a go-around to abort the autorotation. He raised the collective but didn't get a response. He reported that at that point he was 'not sure what was going wrong but felt [he] was losing control and going down very fast.' Once he realized he was about to hit the ground, he raised the collective and applied full aft cyclic. The helicopter impacted the ground and rolled over. The chief pilot reported that when the pilot called him for help after the accident, the pilot stated, 'I did what you told me not to do,' referring to the autorotations. The pilot had been given a solo endorsement on September 14, 1998.

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

The failure of the student pilot to maintain control of the aircraft while practicing autorotations.

Full narrative available

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