NTSB Identification: LAX04CA332.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, September 28, 2004 in Santa Rosa, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/28/2004
Aircraft: Bell 222U, registration: N222UT
Injuries: 3 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.

During a hover taxi on a company 14 CFR Part 135 pilot checkride, the helicopter did a series of fore and aft skid collisions with the taxiway, and the tail rotor separated from the helicopter. The purpose of the flight was for one of the company pilots to complete a initial instrument check ride. As the examinee taxied the helicopter for departure, the check pilot retarded the number 1 engine to a partial power setting. The examinee lowered the collective. The helicopter skids contacted the ground and it bounced into the air in a nose-low attitude. This was followed by a ground contact on the toes of the skids, and an additional bounce. During the second bounce, aft cyclic was applied, and the tail rotor contacted the ground and broke from the helicopter. The helicopter bounced and began turning to the right. The check pilot applied power to the number 1 engine and the forward portion of the skids contacted the ground while the helicopter turned to the right. The helicopter spun approximately 270 degrees about 10 feet above ground level. After 1 to 1 1/2 turns, the check pilot assumed control of the helicopter. He leveled the helicopter and applied full left pedal. The spin continued until he closed both throttles and performed a hovering autorotation. Neither the check pilot, nor the examinee reported any mechanical malfunctions with the helicopter prior to the accident. The chief pilot said the check airman responded in accordance with current company policy and procedures.

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

the pilot-in-command's (examinee's) incorrect collective control response to a simulated power loss of the number 1 engine.

Full narrative available

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