NTSB Identification: SEA01LA054.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, February 27, 2001 in Seattle, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/19/2001
Aircraft: Robinson R22, registration: N8362Q
Injuries: 1 Minor,1 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 pilots attempted a 180-degree autorotation to touchdown from an entry airspeed of 70 knots and entry altitude of 300 feet above ground level (AGL). The instructor reported that halfway around the 180-degree turn, the helicopter's airspeed was 65 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) (the airspeed specified by the R22 Pilot's Operating Handbook for maximum glide distance), with rotor RPM in the normal operating range. The trainee reported that after establishing the proper turn rate, he noted that rotor RPM was in the normal range, but that the helicopter's airspeed had slowed to about 50 knots. The trainee reported that "Not more than a second later", he noted that "the rate of descent appeared to be higher than normal and the ground closer than expected" (the instructor reported he noted the rate of descent was "greater than normal for our proximity to the ground...[as] we were about to roll out of the turn.") The pilots reported that they attempted to recover, but that the helicopter then struck the ground and rolled onto its right side. No evidence of any pre-impact mechanical problems with the helicopter was found during post-accident examination.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: Both pilots' exceedance of the proper descent rate during the autorotative descent. Factors included the helicopter's low altitude at maneuver initiation, the failure of both pilots to maintain the proper airspeed during the descent, and both pilots' delay in initiating remedial action. Full narrative available
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