NTSB Identification: NYC04LA162.
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Accident occurred Friday, July 09, 2004 in Norfolk, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/28/2006
Aircraft: Robinson R-22, registration: N152SP
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The commercial pilot/mechanic took off after performing maintenance on the helicopter. He performed four 90-degree pedal turns, during which he experienced no anomalies. He then climbed the helicopter to 500 feet and started to enter a left turn while lowering the collective. He lowered the nose to gain airspeed, and then entered a simulated autorotation. As the pilot pulled in collective, the helicopter continued to descend, and the collective appeared to be ineffective. With the collective in the full up position, the helicopter continued to sink, and impacted the ground. The helicopter bounced, then rolled over into a ditch. Examination of the helicopter by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the left collective torque tube was fractured at its welded attachment point to the base. Examination of the weld revealed rust on the fracture surface; however, further examination of the fracture surfaces revealed an overstress fracture. Additionally, an examination of the left collective torque tube revealed it interfered with the left seat and could not be extended to the full up position; however, no previous anomalies were reported with the collective movement prior to the accident flight. No mechanical deficiencies were observed with the belts, and no belt slippage was observed.

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

The pilot's failure to complete an autorotation due to the restrictive movement of the collective control.

Full narrative available

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