NTSB Identification: IAD00LA037.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 16, 2000 in MANASSAS, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/08/2001
Aircraft: Greenleaf EXEC 162F, registration: N162GG
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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/owner/builder of the homebuilt helicopter departed on a local flight. He completed a traffic pattern, and initiated an approach to the ground. During the final segment of the approach, the pilot found the collective control stick difficult to lower, and the movement restricted. The pilot forced the collective to the full-down position, and the helicopter contacted the ground and rolled over. A 25-pound metal barbell plate was found in the foot well on the copilot's side after the accident. The surface of the plate was lightly coated with rust. Examination of the copilot's seat cushion revealed rust colored transfers on the fabric. The seat pan exhibited circular scratches that measured the same radius as the barbell plate. The collective stick was raised, and the barbell plate was placed so that it was superimposed over the scratches. The collective stick was lowered, it contacted the plate, and approximately the bottom 1/3 of the collective stick travel could not be attained. The pilot explained that on the advice of the kit factory, a 25-pound weight could be added to the co-pilot's side to assist the pilot in achieving a more wings-level vertical ascent to a hover. He said: 'A 25-pound weight in the right seat worked fine. I flew with it all the time. It was secured by the seat belt. On the last flight it was not secured. I just put it on the seat because it was so heavy.'

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

Was the pilot' use of an unsecured ballast weight in the cockpit that shifted in flight and blocked the collective control movement.

Full narrative available

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