NTSB Identification: ATL02LA095.
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Accident occurred Friday, May 10, 2002 in Deland, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2003
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas MD-600N, registration: N810LA
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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

According to the pilot, while en route to Fernandina Beach, Florida, he observed an auto re-lite master caution indication on the annunciator panel. He diverted to Deland Airport to make a precautionary landing. On approach he observed an electronic control unit (ECU) failure indication. The pilot switched the ECU switch from auto to manual twice, and the engine started to over speed. He then rolled the throttle back twice, and received a "fuel flow fix" voice warning indication. The engine started to making loud "bangs" like a compressor stall. The pilot stated he tried to maintain forward airspeed to clear trees. As the helicopter cleared the trees and power lines, the pilot received a voice warning "low rotor". During the descent to land the pilot increased collective to arrest the descent. The "low rotor" warning light came on again and the helicopter landed hard. The main rotor blades came in contact with the tail boom and severed it from the airframe. According to the FADEC malfunction procedures, occasional electronic transients may produce a false ECU fail indication. If ECU fail indication persists after 2 reset attempts, place switch in MANUAL. With the twistgrip, manually control Np/Nr at 100%. According to an operational "NOTE", occasional RPM transients between 90% and 106.4% are allowable as long as the maximum or minimum RPM limits are not exceeded. The pilot is advised to land as soon as practical. During the approach the main rotor blades came in contact with the tail boom and severed it from the airframe. Inspection of the engine and engine accessories revealed no evidence of pre-impact part failures.

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

The pilot's failure to follow the FADEC malfunction checklist that resulted in the loss of rotor RPM, and the pilot's improper use of the flight controls during the precautionary landing that resulted in a hard landing. A factor was the malfunction of the FADEC unit for undetermined reasons.

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