NTSB Identification: LAX02LA161.
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Accident occurred Monday, May 13, 2002 in Phoenix, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/29/2004
Aircraft: Schweizer 269C, registration: N577TA
Injuries: 1 Minor,1 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.

The helicopter impacted the ground and rolled over on its side after encountering a high rate of descent while maneuvering. The certified flight instructor (CFI) stated that they had flown for about an hour with no problems noted. On the way back to their departure point the CFI took the flight controls from the student. The student, who is a 1,400-hour retired police helicopter pilot in training for his commercial certificate, said the CFI did a "quick stop" (rapidly slowing to a no forward airspeed condition). The CFI initiated a right-hand turn, and dropped the collective. As the CFI began what appeared to be a right turning autorotation, the helicopter began to descend rapidly, and the student felt that there was no forward airspeed. The altitude was approximately 400 feet agl. About 200 feet agl the rate of descent increased. The student reached for the collective to slow the rate of descent, but found that it was in its full up position. The airspeed indicator indicated no forward airspeed; the rotor and rpm needles were joined at the 2 o'clock position. The helicopter impacted the ground at a high descent rate, and had turned almost 360 degrees since beginning the maneuver. A witness to the accident saw the helicopter flying southbound in level flight. The helicopter then stopped and made a turn to the right. The witness stated that it appeared that it was a decelerating right turn. He saw the rate of descent increase and the helicopter was still turning. The CFI stated that there were no mechanical anomalies noted with the helicopter or engine. The density altitude was approximately 4,000 feet.

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

the CFI's failure to maintain an adequate airspeed resulted in a settling with power, and the CFI's failure to take remedial action. A factor in the accident was the high density altitude.

Full narrative available

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