NTSB Identification: ATL00LA034.
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Accident occurred Monday, March 06, 2000 in DALLAS, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/04/2000
Aircraft: Hughes 369D, registration: N303BT
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.

The pilot was performing an out-of-ground effect (OGE) hover at 500 agl while performing aerial photography for a live news broadcast. While hovering OGE on a heading of 195 degrees with the winds were from 030 degrees at 10 knots, the helicopter experienced several unanticipated right yaw excursions. The pilot made the decision to perform an autorotation landing. He stretched the landing to clear power lines and upon impact with the ground, the helicopter rolled onto its right side. According to the pilot, he previously experienced a tail rotor failure in the same model helicopter, and believed the helicopter was possibly experiencing a similar malfunction. Advisory Circular 90-95 (Unanticipated Right Yaw in Helicopters) instructs the pilot to avoid tailwinds while maneuvering between hover and 30 knots and to be aware of wind direction and velocity when hovering in winds of 8-10 knots, especially OGE. A recommended recovery technique is to adjust the controls for normal forward flight. A postaccident examination of the helicopter revealed no engine or airframe abnormalities.

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

The pilot's improper use of flight controls during an emergency landing. Factors were an encounter with a loss of tail rotor effectiveness (LTE) during an out-of-ground effect hover, the pilot's inadequate weather evaluation, and his failure to follow proper procedures for LTE.

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