NTSB Identification: SEA02FA035.
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Accident occurred Thursday, January 31, 2002 in Silver City, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/18/2003
Aircraft: Robinson R-22 BETA, registration: N7507G
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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.

The pilot/owner of the Robinson R-22 helicopter along with the FAA pilot/inspector departed on a flight to build time for the inspector. The total flight time accrued in his logbook was 827 hours of which 693 hours were in the R-22 helicopter (681 pilot-in-command). The FAA pilot/inspector had approximately 8,000 hours of helicopter time of which approximately 6,000 hours were logged as pilot in command and 5,000 were as an instructor. He had less than 50 hours of flight time in the R-22. The FAA pilot/inspector demonstrated an auto rotation and then turned the controls over to the pilot/owner who then executed the same maneuver. The FAA pilot reported that at the initiation of the maneuver, the pilot/owner applied abrupt, full left (anti-torque) pedal at which time the helicopter entered into an uncoordinated turn, began to vibrate violently and the airspeed dropped off down to between 30 to 20 knots. The pilot/owner continued to fly the helicopter recovering from the yaw and began to apply collective approximately 250 feet agl when the FAA pilot/inspector got on the controls to stop the recovery, which he believed was initiated at an altitude higher than desired. Both pilots were on the controls and the pilot/owner reported that he had full throttle with normal rotor RPM about 150 feet agl, however the helicopter landed hard and rolled on to it's right side.

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

Both the pilot/owner and the FAA inspector pilots' failure to maintain adequate rotor RPM during a practice auto rotation landing which resulted in a hard landing. A contributing factor was the pilot/owner's application of excessive anti-torque pedal during the initiation of the auto rotation.

Full narrative available

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