NTSB Identification: IAD05LA031.
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Accident occurred Sunday, November 14, 2004 in Galloo Island, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/2005
Aircraft: Enstrom 280C, registration: N51739
Injuries: 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.

While conducting aerial photography operations, at an altitude about 80 feet agl and at an estimated groundspeed of 20 knots, the helicopter's engine experienced a partial loss of power. The pilot then performed the emergency checklist and configured the helicopter for an autorotation. As the helicopter descended the pilot reported that the rotor and the engine would not "separate," and the rotor rpm continued to decrease. The helicopter impacted the ground hard, incurring damage to a main rotor blade and the tail boom. The engine was test run at idle rpm following the accident, and found to operate normally. Subsequent disassembly and examination of the engine and the clutch revealed no anomalies. A review of the height velocity diagram for the helicopter showed that given the conditions at the time of the accident, the helicopter was being operated outside of the safe operating area.

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

A partial loss of engine power for undetermined reasons. A factor was the pilot's improper decision to operate the helicopter outside the height velocity curve.

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