NTSB Identification: DFW05CA220.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, August 23, 2005 in Odessa, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2006
Aircraft: Robinson R-44, registration: N160TX
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.

The 1,212-hour commercial pilot departed runway 11 and remained in the landing pattern to demonstrate a simulated emergency landing for his passengers. While on the left downwind the pilot applied carburetor heat and radioed his intentions. Approximately 200 feet above ground level (agl), he lined up for a final approach to runway 11 and checked his instruments. All indications were "normal" so the pilot proceeded to "[roll] off" the engine power. With the "rotor RPM [bleeding] off very rapidly", the pilot elected to leave the collective in the full down position until he applied full engine throttle to start the flare. Shortly thereafter the pilot realized that the helicopter was going to impact the ground "hard." The helicopter impacted the runway with enough force that the main rotor blades contacted the tail boom resulting in its separation from the fuselage. The helicopter continued to slide down the runway for approximately 25 to 30 feet before rolling and coming to rest on its right side. An examination of the helicopter revealed the fuselage, main and tail rotor blades, and the tail rotor drive shaft sustained structural damage. The pilot reported that there was no mechanical malfunction or failure with the helicopter.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain main rotor RPM and the improper landing flare which resulted in a hard landing.

Full narrative available

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