NTSB Identification: LAX06CA033.
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Accident occurred Sunday, November 13, 2005 in Chandler, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2006
Aircraft: Rotorway 162F, registration: N321JN
Injuries: 1 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 helicopter made a hard landing while executing an autorotation after a loss of engine power in-flight. The pilot fueled the helicopter with automotive fuel from cans in the morning prior to practicing in the traffic pattern for 1 hour at Phoenix Regional Airport. He landed, refueled from the same fuel source he had in the morning, and departed to Chandler. About 5 minutes into the flight, the pilot experienced a decrease in engine power and a drop in rotor rpm every time he raised the collective. He selected a landing site and chose to make an emergency landing. The pilot began an autorotation at about 1,000 feet above ground level and maneuvered toward his landing area, which was a water retention basin surrounded by trees. After just clearing the trees, and about 30 feet off the ground, he began a flare and touched down, stopping the helicopter within 20 feet. He exited the helicopter and noticed he had lost a tail rotor blade and the tail boom had a stress wrinkle in it. The pilot towed the helicopter back to his home and discovered rust and water in a fuel sample taken from the aircraft and the containers used to refuel the helicopter.

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

a loss of engine power due to fuel contamination (rust, water) as a result of the pilot's inadequate preflight planning preparation.

Full narrative available

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