NTSB Identification: LAX01FA127.
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Accident occurred Thursday, March 22, 2001 in Hanapepe, Kauai, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2004
Aircraft: Agusta A109A, registration: N293G
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During a FAR Part 135 proficiency check ride in the helicopter, the check airman, who was an FAA inspector, gave the commercial pilot a stuck pedal situation after takeoff by blocking the left pedal slightly forward of the neutral position. Both pilots indicated the commercial pilot was unfamiliar with the maneuver, and the check airman talked the pilot through the process during the flight around the traffic pattern. The check airman told the pilot to bring the helicopter to a hover at a preselected spot, which the pilot did. The check airman then instructed the pilot to reduce power to effect a slight heading change and settle the helicopter onto the ground. The pilot reduced the engine power to idle "rapidly" and the helicopter yawed to the left. The pilot attempted an autorotational landing and flared too high resulting in a hard landing. During the hard landing, the right main landing gear failed, and the helicopter rolled onto its right side. The check airman and the pilot both reported the check airman did not brief the pilot of the maneuver prior to the flight, nor did he demonstrate the maneuver to the pilot. According to the helicopter manufacturer, stuck pedal emergency procedures are not provided in the emergency procedures section of the operating handbook, and the maneuver should be discussed first and demonstrated with neutral pedal settings.

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

the pilot's misjudged flare during an autorotation, which resulted in a hard landing. A contributing factor was the check airman's failure to demonstrate a stuck pedal maneuver prior to assigning the procedure to the pilot.

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