NTSB Identification: LAX01LA083.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Thursday, February 01, 2001 in Lihue, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/15/2003
Aircraft: Eurocopter AS-350-B2, registration: N985SA
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 commercial pilot was performing a hydraulic accumulator test during the before takeoff check when the helicopter inadvertently lifted off. The hydraulic pressure had been bled off during the test, and the pilot could not regain control of the helicopter prior to it impacting the ground tail rotor first. The collective was locked down during the accumulator test; however, it became unlocked when the pilot was repositioning his hands to restore hydraulic power after the accumulator test. FAA inspectors indicated that the collective lock design allowed for the release of the collective when the cyclic was moved during the test with the hydraulic pressure depleted.

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

The manufacturer's inadequate collective lock design, which resulted in the collective unlocking during a preflight check and subsequent unintentional liftoff and loss of helicopter control. The pilot's loss of control was due in part to the unavailability of the hydraulic system.

Full narrative available

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