NTSB Identification: LAX02LA239.
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Accident occurred Saturday, July 27, 2002 in Prescott, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/29/2004
Aircraft: Robinson R22 Beta, registration: N232DR
Injuries: 2 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 landed hard and rolled over while attempting a practice autorotation in a field. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and student pilot experienced light turbulence and lost about 100 feet of altitude prior to the autorotation entry. About 200 feet above ground level (agl), the rotor rpm gauge showed a drop and the warning horn sounded momentarily. The student lowered the collective and the helicopter began a high sink rate. The CFI initiated a power recovery in an effort to counteract the sink rate, but the helicopter continued to sink and the rotor rpm remained low. A few feet above the ground, with the helicopter still sinking, the CFI decided to level the helicopter and brace for impact. The skids contacted the forward sloping terrain in a straight and flat attitude. The helicopter experienced a forward, left roll, and came to rest on its left side. The CFI and student pilot thought the abnormally high sink rate could have been a result of the adverse wind conditions in the area. A routine aviation weather report (METAR) for PRC, about 10 miles away on a bearing of 035 degrees, reported winds at 5 knots, gusting to 17 knots.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the student pilot's failure to maintain adequate main rotor rpm, the CFI's delayed remedial action and inadequate supervision of the flight, resulting in a hard landing. Wind gusts and the high density altitude were factors in the accident.
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