NTSB Identification: SEA02LA026.
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Accident occurred Friday, January 11, 2002 in Renton, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/25/2003
Aircraft: Robinson R22 Beta, registration: N7185A
Injuries: 2 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 accident occurred during a hover demonstration to a prospective student on an introductory helicopter flight. The dual student reported that at the time of the accident, they were hovering at 4 to 5 feet. The dual student reported that the instructor had a hold of the cyclic, and that "I had a loose grip on it and we tipped back." The student stated that "We went straight up in the air for ten to fifteen feet and immediately banked left, almost up side down." The instructor reported that after demonstrating hovering flight to the student, she had the student take hold of the cyclic control with her. She stated that while maintaining control of the collective and pedals, she verified cyclic control transfer with the student and let her hand loose around the cyclic grip. The instructor reported that the helicopter then began to drift slightly sideways, forward and backward. She stated that she then took the cyclic control back and stabilized the hover. She stated that she then briefly described hovering flight to the student again, then had him take hold of the cyclic with her again as she kept control of the collective and pedals. She stated that after verifying cyclic control transfer with the student, she again let her hand loose around the cyclic grip. She reported that the helicopter then started to move forward. She stated that the student "reacted by applying gradual aft cyclic at first, then quickly applied more aft cyclic." She stated that, "Before full correction could be applied, the aircraft hit the ground. The helicopter then lifted back up a little, and started spinning to the right before falling on its side." The operator's accident report to the NTSB indicated that no mechanical malfunction or failure was involved in the accident.

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

The flight instructor's failure to ensure that adequate altitude/clearance above the ground was maintained during hovering flight, resulting in an inadvertent ground contact and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. A factor was the flight instructor's failure to ensure adequate control of the aircraft was maintained in the hover.

Full narrative available

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