NTSB Identification: CHI06LA021.
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Accident occurred Sunday, October 30, 2005 in Portland, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2007
Aircraft: Enstrom F-28A, registration: N266Q
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.
The helicopter was damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power during climb out. The pilot reported that the engine did not sound normal during the previous shutdown. The pilot stated that during a postflight inspection he noted the engine oil quantity was six quarts low. He added six quarts of oil before restarting the engine. After engine startup, the pilot walked around the helicopter and noticed smoke emanating from the engine compartment and heard the engine misfiring. The pilot stated that he brought the helicopter into a hover to see if the engine would sustain power. After hovering briefly, the pilot departed on the accident flight. The pilot reported that the helicopter experienced a total loss of engine power during climb out and an autorotation was performed into a cornfield. The pilot stated that he was unable to maintain directional control during landing due to the soft ground condition and the helicopter slid approximately 100 feet and turned about 190 degrees to the left. The pilot reported that the main and tail rotors contacted the ground, but the helicopter came to rest in an upright position. A witness reported seeing the helicopter on the ramp with the engine running. The witness reported that there was smoke coming from the engine compartment and that the engine was misfiring at idle power. The witness stated that the helicopter then departed with smoke trailing from the helicopter. An inspection of the engine revealed that the number two cylinder connecting rod had separated from the crankshaft. The rod cap, cap bolts, and bearing material were not recovered. The number two crankshaft journal surface was smooth, shiny, and did not show any evidence of heat discoloration.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's decision to operate the helicopter with a known engine deficiency, the loss of engine power due to the connecting rod failure, and the pilot's failure to maintain directional control during landing. A factor to the accident was the corn crop and the soft terrain condition.
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