NTSB Identification: LAX00LA129.
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Accident occurred Saturday, March 11, 2000 in SAN DIEGO, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/25/2003
Aircraft: Robinson R22B, registration: N7078B
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 landed the helicopter in the parking lot where his business was located to drop off a passenger and complete some business. After completing his business he elected to takeoff in a northerly direction along the west side of the building toward a parked van. This placed him a position to depart without a clear takeoff flight path, effectively eliminating his ability to remain in ground effect until entering translational lift. The pilot lifted to a hover, took off, and started his departure to the north. About 50 feet along the takeoff path, at an altitude of approximately 16 feet agl, the pilot noted a decrease in rotor rpm. He realized he would not be able to complete his planned departure and elected to execute a forced landing into the parking lot. He set the helicopter down in the parking lot as he veered to the right to avoid hitting the van. The tail rotor came into contact with the office window, breaking the window, and severely damaging the tail rotor and the tail rotor gearbox.

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

The pilot's selection of an inadequate takeoff area which precluded his ability to remain in ground effect until entering translational lift and resulted in his failure to maintain main rotor rpm.

Full narrative available

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