NTSB Identification: SEA03LA052.
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Accident occurred Saturday, March 29, 2003 in Mabton, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/28/2004
Aircraft: Robinson R-22B, registration: N2629Z
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.

While en route, the pilot made the decision to make an off-airport landing in an open field. While he was making a shallow approach, the helicopter experienced a momentary loss of power and the pilot heard a burble noise coming from the engine. This was accompanied by a low rotor rpm warning and the settling of the aircraft toward the terrain. The pilot then tried to roll the power on further, but the rpm did not fully recover. He was able to hover-taxi about five feet above the terrain for about 50 yards, but when the helicopter began to yaw, he made the decision to attempt to land. During that attempt, with the helicopter moving slightly sideways, the left skid got stuck on a large clump of dirt, and the aircraft rolled over onto its side. During the investigation it was determined that there was approximately 25 gallons of fuel on board at the time of the accident. An inspection of the engine and airframe did not reveal any anomalies that would have contributed to a loss of power.

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

A partial loss of power, for undetermined reasons, during a shallow approach, that ultimately lead to a situation where the pilot found it necessary to attempt a forced landing while the helicopter was moving slightly sideways. Factors include rough/uneven terrain.

Full narrative available

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