NTSB Identification: SEA00FA014.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, November 02, 1999 in PENDLETON, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2001
Aircraft: Enstrom F28C, registration: N635H
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The helicopter was destroyed when it sustained a tail rotor blade strike during a solo instructional flight. The airline transport pilot, who was preparing for a commercial rotorcraft-helicopter rating checkride on the following day, was fatally injured. The pilot was on his second left-hand circuit of the pattern and had been cleared for the option. On his first circuit, he had made three touchdowns along the length of the runway, at the threshold, mid-length, and at the departure end, then had continued his circuit. On the second circuit, the tower controller had again cleared the pilot for the option. The tower controller observed similar touchdowns at the threshold, and at mid-field. He stated that he was looking away at the time of the crash; however he heard a very garbled transmission, looked in the direction of the helicopter, saw dirt flying, and activated the siren and dispatched rescue vehicles. Ground strikes consistent with tail rotor blade strikes were found near the wreckage.

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

Failure to maintain clearance from the runway surface while maneuvering at low altitude, and inadequate remedial action after the tail rotor struck the surface.

Full narrative available

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