NTSB Identification: LAX94LA033.
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Accident occurred Saturday, October 30, 1993 in SANTA ROSA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/01/1994
Aircraft: Robinson R22A, registration: N8452Z
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to statements from the pilot, his passenger, and ground witnesses, the pilot was providing helicopter rides to fellow employees at a company halloween party. While overflying the party location, a large mylar party balloon broke free and drifted up in the path of the helicopter. The tail rotor blades struck the balloon and then separated from the helicopter. The pilot initiated an autorotation to a parking lot and touched down hard. Responding sheriff's department officers found fragments of a mylar balloon about 100 feet southeast of the helicopter.

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

the separation of the tail rotor due to a collision with a mylar balloon and the subsequent hard landing during an autorotation. A factor in the accident was the dark night lighting conditions which limited the pilot's ability to see and avoid the balloon.

Full narrative available

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