NTSB Identification: MIA00LA005.
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Accident occurred Sunday, October 17, 1999 in SUNNY ISLES, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/02/2001
Aircraft: Robinson R-22, registration: N83574
Injuries: 2 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.

After about 1 hour of flight at about 200 feet offshore, the helicopter was observed to descend from about 500 feet agl, to about 200 feet agl, and head directly toward the beach. Once overhead the beach, the pilot stated the cylinder head and oil temperature indications started rising rapidly, and he looked for a place to autorotate. Finding no suitable area due to the density of bathers and losing power, the pilot elected to ditch offshore in about 8 feet of water. Post crash test run of the engine revealed normal operation except that the magneto timing had been adjusted as far advanced as possible. Factory post crash analysis of the main rotor clutch and shaft revealed the clutch had sustained two severe overtorque events, most likely as a result of two or more main rotor blade strikes during the accident.

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

A loss of engine power while maneuvering due to improper ignition timing by unknown person(s) resulting in an emergency descent and collision with the water.

Full narrative available

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