NTSB Identification: CHI04CA111.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, April 27, 2004 in Rochester, MN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/30/2004
Aircraft: Robinson R22 Beta, registration: N40725
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The helicopter was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during landing on runway 31. The pilot reported that he was conducting a straight-in approach. He recalled that the approach was smooth until he crossed the runway threshold, about 10 feet above ground level, at which point he "felt very slight buffeting." The pilot attributed this to wake turbulence from a business jet which had departed approximately two minutes before he reached the runway. He decided to abort the landing and applied forward cyclic to begin building some airspeed. He reported that "within two seconds the helicopter began to pitch and roll severely." His efforts to stabilized the aircraft were not successful. He decided to land in spite of the unstable condition because he was not sure that he would be able to maintain control. He reported that he lowered the collective and, just prior to contact with the ground, increased collective in an attempt to cushion the impact. The left skid contacted the ground and collapsed. The helicopter came to rest on its left side. A post-accident examination conducted by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed no indication of any pre-impact anomalies. The pilot reported that there were no failures or malfunctions with the helicopter prior to the accident. Winds at RST, recorded at 0754, were from 260 degrees at 5 knots. At 0854, winds were from 240 degrees at 6 knots. The pilot reported 28.3 hours total flight time and 3.0 hours of pilot-in-command (solo) flight time.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain control of the helicopter during landing. Contributing factors were the aircraft's low altitude and the pilot's limited flight experience.

Full narrative available

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