NTSB Identification: DEN03LA078.
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Accident occurred Thursday, May 08, 2003 in Aurora, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/30/2003
Aircraft: Bell 206-L4, registration: N70TV
Injuries: 1 Minor,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.
According to the pilot-in-command (PIC), the helicopter was returning to Centennial Airport, Englewood, after the crew had filmed a news story. He was allowing the check pilot (CP) to fly the helicopter. The PIC "bumped the throttle" to simulate a power loss. The CP turned into the wind and slowed to 60 knots. The PIC consulted the CP and confirmed the landing location and recovery procedures (i.e., rotor rpm in the green arc, full throttle at 200 feet agl). The CP flared the helicopter 75 feet above the ground but didn't apply power until they were 20 feet above the ground. Rotor speed decayed, and the helicopter struck the ground, bounced, spun 180 degrees, and rolled over on its left side. According to the CP, the PIC initiated a forced landing. He wrote, "I entered the [autorotation] and turned into the wind. During the power recovery, the engine did not respond in a timely manner and ground contact was the result." According to the FAA inspector who interviewed the crew, the CP did not have recent helicopter experience involving operations above 5,000 feet. Due to a lack of prior planning between the two pilots, "the [CP] assumed that the PIC was going to reapply the throttle for a power recovery. At the same time, the [PIC] assumed that the [CP] was going to apply power [to recover]. The result of this lack of CRM (cockpit resource management) was that the power was applied at a point where the descent rate could not be arrested..." At the time of the accident, the helicopter was carrying 400 pounds of fuel, television cameras and other equipment, and a cameraman. The density altitude was computed to be 7,143 feet msl.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: inadequate infligt planning/decision by the flight crew and the check pilot's failure to initiate remedial action in a timely manner. Contributing factors were the pilot-in-command's inadequate supervision of the check pilot, the check pilot's lack of recency of high altitude experience, and the high density altitude. Full narrative available
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