NTSB Identification: LAX00FA134.
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Accident occurred Friday, March 24, 2000 in RIALTO, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/2003
Aircraft: Robinson R22 BETA, registration: N8328Q
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.

For undetermined reasons, the pilot began hovering between 150 and 250 feet agl while on final approach to the airport. He then lost control of the helicopter and descended in a nose low attitude until impacting the ground. Earlier during the morning the pilot had flown with his flight instructor (CFI) on a round robin cross-country flight to the same airport. According to the CFI, the pilot had demonstrated that he was competent to make the same flight solo, so the CFI endorsed his logbook authorizing the flight. Subsequently, the pilot departed on his first solo cross-country flight in the helicopter. Recorded radar data indicates that the pilot proceeded to the destination airport, entered its traffic pattern about 500 feet agl, and turned onto the base leg while descending to about 200 feet agl. Two witnesses observed the pilot on the final approach leg. One witness reported that the helicopter appeared to hover for 3 to 10 seconds, while the other witness estimated it was stopped in the air for 5 seconds. Both witnesses reported seeing the helicopter's pitch attitude decrease, then the helicopter descended while in a 45-degree nose low attitude. The on-scene accident site examination revealed the helicopter impacted hard onto the level ground while heading toward the airport. The helicopter's landing gear structure fragmented, and the main rotor blades bent aftward. The helicopter came to rest 100 feet from the initial point of impact. No evidence was found of any in-flight contact between the main rotor blades and the fuselage. No evidence was found of any preimpact mechanical malfunction with the flight control, driveline, and throttle governor systems. The engine was test run and full rated power was obtained. The pilot was certificated to fly airplanes and had about 110 hours of fixed wing flying experience. His total dual and solo experience flying the Robinson R22 was 29 and 5.7 hours, respectively.

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

The pilot's in-flight loss of control for undetermined reasons.

Full narrative available

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