NTSB Identification: MIA99LA186.
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Accident occurred Monday, June 21, 1999 in LUTZ, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/30/2000
Aircraft: Robert R. Callahan EXEC 90, registration: N4359N
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 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.

The non-certificated pilot preflighted the helicopter and after engine start, one of the magnetos was intermittent. Manipulation of the magneto switch corrected the problem; the flight then departed and flew about 5 miles away. While returning, the non-rotorcraft rated passenger began flying the helicopter and while descending over the airport about 300 feet, the engine quit. The passenger lowered full collective, maintained 60 mph, then when the helicopter was 20 feet agl, he flared using a 45 degree flare angle. The tailboom contacted the ground first, followed by the main rotor blades contacting the tailboom. The helicopter then landed hard. The passenger stated after takeoff, the pilot performed 3 or 4 simulated loss of engine power with power recoveries and while performing another, the engine quit at 100-150 feet. He took the controls from the pilot and with the main rotor tachometer indicating 0, performed an autorotative landing but the helicopter landed hard. The engine was started postaccident and found to operate normally. Examination of the engine systems revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. The pilot stated that he found corrosion at the wiring connections at each ignition pack. Preflight examination of the ignitions packs is required.

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

The excessive cyclic input by the non-qualified passenger during the autorotative landing following a reported loss of engine power. A factor in the accident was the inadequate preflight of the helicopter by the unqualified pilot for his failure to detect corrosion at each ignition pack during the helicopter preflight, resulting in the loss of engine power.

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