NTSB Identification: LAX04CA198.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, April 27, 2004 in Squaw Valley, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/29/2004
Aircraft: Robinson R22 Beta II, registration: N7521P
Injuries: 2 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 experienced a hard landing and rolled over. The flight departed for a proposed 20-minute tour with the helicopter's gross weight about 1,240 pounds. While en route, the pilot opted to land in an area of flat terrain. During the landing sequence, he slowed the helicopter, and it began to descend. The descent continued and the helicopter landed hard. The helicopter rolled over and the pilot and passenger egressed. After exiting the helicopter, the pilot noted surface wind from the west, which was consistent with a tailwind. The pilot stated that the combination of tailwind conditions and high altitude equated to an undesirable landing environment. He thought that the helicopter's descent rate was "too high" for the conditions. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane. After the accident the California Highway Patrol helicopter air unit landed at the accident site to determine if the occupants were injured. An officer noted that the elevation at the accident site was 8,359 feet and the outside air temperature was about 71 degrees Fahrenheit. Based on the officer's observations, the density altitude was computed to be about 11,000 feet.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain a proper descent rate during the landing approach, which resulted in a hard landing and roll over. Also causal was the pilot's inadequate compensation for tailwind conditions. A factor in the accident was the high density altitude.

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