NTSB Identification: IAD03LA033.
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Accident occurred Saturday, February 15, 2003 in Westford, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/2003
Aircraft: Rotorway Exec 162F, registration: N241WC
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 pilot had just made a steep approach to a confined area and was pulling into a full hover, when the helicopter began a rapid rotation to the left. The pilot applied full right pedal, but could not stop the rotation. He did not perform an autorotation from a hover because he was concerned of landing hard, rolling over, and shedding parts that could have possibly hurt his friend, who was standing nearby. Instead, he lifted the helicopter back up and tried to fly to a vacant area. During the ascent, the pilot was able to slow the rotation by reducing power, but was never able to completely stop the rotation. He was not able to perform an autorotation because he had no forward airspeed, so he put the helicopter down into trees. The pilot stated that he had experienced Loss of Tail Rotor Effectiveness (LTE) in the past, but due to the strong head wind, and the sudden rapidness of the rotation, he did not feel that this was an LTE situation. An FAA inspector reported that one of the tail rotor pitch change links was fractured, but did not take possession of the link at that time. The pilot/owner initially agreed to send the pitch change link to the Safety Board to be examined, but later determined that the part had failed during impact, and discarded the wreckage.

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

The inflight loss of control due to the loss of tail rotor effectiveness.

Full narrative available

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