NTSB Identification: LAX05CA185.
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Accident occurred Sunday, May 22, 2005 in Sedona, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2005
Aircraft: Robinson R44, registration: N963JM
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 pilot made an off airport landing in scrub brush, which damaged the helicopter. The pilot made an approach to the transient helipad. He reported that the helicopter was about 80 feet above ground level (agl) and on short final when the helicopter lost effective translational lift (ETL). He lowered the collective and added power. He stated that due to the high density altitude, the helicopter would not hover out of ground effect. He aborted the landing and tried to regain ETL. The helicopter continued a slow descent. About 20 feet agl, he attempted to flare and applied full collective. He landed in small trees and scrub brush. The helicopter remained upright, the engine was running, and the blades were turning. The pilot and passenger exited the helicopter without injury. The pilot stated that there were no mechanical issues with the helicopter. The density altitude was calculated to be in excess of 7,800 feet.

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

the pilot's improperly planned approach and misjudged distance/speed. A factor was the high density altitude.

Full narrative available

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