NTSB Identification: IAD01TA051.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 29, 2001 in TAYLORSVILLE, KY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/18/2001
Aircraft: Hughes 369D, registration: N50AP
Injuries: 2 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

The flight instructor and commercial pilot were practicing autorotations. On the fourth maneuver, the flight instructor was demonstrating an autorotation that would terminate with a full touchdown. The flight instructor reported that he began the maneuver at 800 feet agl, and initiated the deceleration about 50 feet agl. About 10-15 feet agl, he leveled the helicopter and began the descent to touchdown. When collective was to be applied, the pilot felt a forward pressure on the cyclic, and a tendency for the helicopter to nose down. He reacted by centering the cyclic. When the collective reached 50 percent of travel, the pilot realized that the rate of descent was greater than normal. He applied more collective and advanced the throttle in an attempt minimize the rate of descent, but landed hard in a tail low attitude. The accident was videotaped by a witness. Review of the videotape revealed that the helicopter appeared to stop its descent about 20-25 feet agl and assume a tail low attitude. The helicopter descended, landed on the tailskid, then the aft portion of the main landing gear skids. When the tailskid contacted the ground, the tail boom fractured. The tail assembly was then struck by a main rotor blade, and the helicopter rocked forward on the main landing gear skids, and the left strut failed. Examination of the helicopter revealed there were no mechanical deficiencies.

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

the flight instructor's inadequate aircraft control during a practice autorotation which resulted in a hard landing.

Full narrative available

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