NTSB Identification: CHI00LA121.
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Accident occurred Monday, April 24, 2000 in SALINA, KS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/21/2001
Aircraft: Hughes 500C, registration: N9177F
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported losing directional control while maneuvering backwards and turning into the prevailing wind, which he reported as a "little gusty". Recorded weather reported a wind speed of 11 knots 12 nm east of the accident site. The pilot then performed a hovering autorotation during which the helicopter contacted the terrain with a left drift. The Rotorcraft Flying Handbook describes the characteristics associated with a loss of tail rotor effectiveness resulting from certain combinations of wind azimuth and helicopter airspeeds. Metallurgical examination of the helicopter's tail rotor assembly revealed no preexisting anomalies.

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

the loss of tail rotor effectiveness and the autorotation performed by the pilot. The unfavorable wind was a contributing factor.

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