NTSB Identification: ATL03LA072.
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Accident occurred Thursday, March 27, 2003 in Greensboro, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2005
Aircraft: Rotorway 162F, registration: N92AL
Injuries: 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.

According to the pilot, he flew around the airstrip for approximately 45 minutes. After several passes over the airstrip, the pilot reported he received an electronic control unit (ECU) failure indication light. When the engine lost power, the pilot entered an autorotation. During the touchdown phase of the autorotation, the helicopter rolled over on the left side. During the examination of the helicopter no fuel was found in the fuel tanks or at the accident site. The ECU's were sent to be bench tested. The test revealed, the last 30 seconds of the flight indicated an increase in the throttle position with a corresponding decrease of engine RPM, with a rapid cycling during the final 12 seconds prior to the engine completely shutting down. The data retrieved from the ECUs revealed the flight prior to the accident lasted 10 minutes with a three-minute ground run. The accident flight was approximately 57 minutes. The pilot stated that the helicopter fuel tank capacity is 14 gallons, and can fly for 2 hours or 180 miles with full fuel. According to the pilot, the helicopter departed with 14 gallons of automotive fuel.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight planning of fuel required for flight which resulted in fuel exhaustion, and a complete loss of engine power followed by a forced landing, and a dynamic rollover during the autorotative touchdown.

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