NTSB Identification: NYC01LA057.
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Accident occurred Saturday, December 09, 2000 in TRENTON, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/02/2001
Aircraft: Mooney M-20J, registration: N201MP
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.

With a fight instructor, the pilot executed a normal takeoff from Runway 34 for right closed traffic. Because a UH-60 helicopter was executing an approach from the southwest to the threshold of Runway 34, the pilot extend the touchdown point by 1,000 feet. The helicopter transitioned to hovering flight near the threshold, about 30 seconds before the accident airplane. After a short delay, the UH-60 air-taxied to the ramp. When the accident airplane was about 20 feet above the ground, it suddenly rolled right, (faster than a full application of aileron could counteract,) and the right wing contacted the ground. Witness statements place the UH-60, 100 to 600 feet away from the accident airplane at the time of the accident. According to the Aeronautical Information Manual, every aircraft generates vortices, that can cause an uncommanded roll that exceeds the roll-control authority of the encountering airplane. Landing helicopters produce a pair of strong, high-speed trailing vortices similar to larger fixed wing aircraft. Pilots of small aircraft should use caution when operating behind landing helicopters.

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

The flight instructor's improper decision to allow his student to land in close proximity to a hovering helicopter.

Full narrative available

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