NTSB Identification: FTW02LA026.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, October 30, 2001 in Redrock, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/13/2003
Aircraft: Robinson R22 Beta II, registration: N8373T
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

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

The helicopter was being utilized for a cattle roundup. The helicopter departed the cattle pens to the east-northeast toward a draw, which leads into a canyon from the cattle pens. The elevation was approximately 5,000 feet at the cattle pens with an upslope greater than 15 degrees toward the canyon. The wind in the canyon was from the south-southwest at 10 mph gusting to 15 mph, with a temperature of 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. The helicopter impacted the upslope of the canyon about 100 feet below the ridge at an elevation of 5,080 feet. Physical deformation of the main rotor blades was consistent with tree impact along the leading edges. The pilot had accumulated 695.4 hours of flight time in the accident make and model aircraft. Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of pre-impact flight control malfunction or airframe or system failure. The helicopter was found to be within weight and balance limits. The density altitude was calculated at 7,346 feet at the time of the accident. At the calculated gross weight of 1,292 pounds, the maximum altitude to hover out of ground effect (OGE) is 5,200 feet, and the maximum altitude to hover in ground effect (IGE) is 9,200 feet.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance with terrain. Contributing factors were the mountainous terrain and high density altitude.

Full narrative available

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