NTSB Identification: LAX00TA186.
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Accident occurred Monday, May 08, 2000 in LOS ANGELES, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/17/2001
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas 500N, registration: N955SD
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The flight instructor reported the purpose of the flight was to practice emergency procedures as part of routine intradepartmental training. The training was being conducted in an open field on property owned by the Sheriff's Department. The flight instructor stated that they often utilized the field for flight training purposes, and reported that he had done some training there about 1-week prior. He reported that they performed a high reconnaissance of the field prior to landing and he noted nothing unsuitable about the terrain. A ground survey was not performed prior to the conduct of training flights and landings in the field. The flight instructor stated that he reduced the throttle to ground idle about 10 to 12 feet agl to simulate a total power loss. The pilot trainee was on the controls; he landed the helicopter with no problems. The flight instructor stated that the helicopter slid forward only a few feet, then stopped abruptly. The skids had become entangled in some 18-inch-tall grass and imbedded vines, causing unexpected friction. He stated that the natural tendency to input aft cyclic to stop the aircraft from going over caused the main rotor blades to contact the tail boom.

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

The combined failure of the operator management and the check pilot to ensure the landing area was suitable for the slide on landing. Factors were the high vegetation that entangled the skids, resulting in the abrupt stop and nose down movement of the helicopter, and the training pilot's inappropriate response to the nose pitch down.

Full narrative available

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