NTSB Identification: LAX00LA226.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, June 14, 2000 in SANTA CLARITA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/21/2001
Aircraft: Hughes 269C, registration: N9692F
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 helicopter touched down on the downside portion of a hill, struck a tree, and became inverted. The purpose of the flight was to conduct a new hire checkout. The purpose of the landing was to retrieve a door that had come off in flight the day prior to the accident. During the approach for landing the new hire pilot performed a high and low reconnaissance of the area. This was to check for wind direction and verify the landing area was clear of obstructions. About 100 feet from the intended touchdown point, the wind changed direction and became a tailwind. He attempted to compensate for the loss of altitude by increasing power, but the engine did not have enough power. The helicopter was still controllable with full left rudder. The helicopter started to settle and the engine and rotor rpm were decaying. When the new hire attempted to fly down hill to regain rpm, he felt resistance on the controls, but did not recall the check pilot indicating that he was going to take the controls. The check pilot instructed the other pilot to verify his rpm and verbalized that he was taking the flight controls. He attempted to perform a low rpm recovery. He reduced the collective and rolled on the throttle. However, he noted that the throttle was already in the full on position. He attempted to recover rpm by moving the collective up and down to clear the ridgeline. The helicopter continued to settle and landed hard. No discrepancies were noted with engine power.

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

Settling with power precipitated by a wind direction change during the approach to land sequence and the check pilot's delayed remedial action to correct the event. Factors in the accident were crew resource management coordination concerning flight control authority and unsuitable terrain for landing.

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