NTSB Identification: ATL02TA083.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 14, 2002 in Tampa, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/30/2003
Aircraft: Hughes OH-6A, registration: N56TP
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 public aircraft accident report.

The pilot brought the helicopter to a 400-foot hover so that his flight observer could observe some recently installed signs. As he began his transition to forward flight, the helicopter began an uncommanded right yaw. The pilot applied left pedal to stop the yaw but the helicopter continued to yaw. In an effort to correct the yaw condition the pilot entered an autorotation. The helicopter collided with the ground and bounced and came t o to rest on the left side in about three feet of water. Examination of the helicopter failed to disclose a mechanical malfunction or component failure. Advisory Circular 90-95 states in-part that, " Loss of Tail Rotor Effectiveness (LTE) is a critical, low-speed aerodynamic flight characteristic which can result in an uncommanded rapid yaw rate which does not subside of its own accord and, if not corrected, can result in the loss of aircraft control".

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

The pilot's improper planning/decision to conduct an out of ground effect hover in a tailwind environment, which resulted in the loss of tail rotor effectiveness and the subsequent in-flight collision with water.

Full narrative available

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