NTSB Identification: DFW06CA062
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 26, 2006 in Port Isabel, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/25/2006
Aircraft: Eurocopter France AS-350-B2, registration: N911ES
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 5,591-hour helicopter flight instructor reported that he was on the second day of training of a newly hired 10,000-hour commercial helicopter rated pilot. After the pilot's first landing on Runway 03 (4,999-feet long by 150-feet wide asphalt-concrete runway), the flight instructor asked the pilot to perform an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) takeoff (as described in the company's operations manual), and then enter the local traffic pattern. The flight instructor stated that the EMS takeoff procedure began by the pilot bringing the helicopter to a three to five foot hover in order to conduct a power check prior to the application of takeoff power. While the helicopter was at a hover, the flight instructor initiated a hovering autorotation; the pilot immediately applied forward cyclic, and then pulled up on the collective. The flight instructor considered the pilot's flight control inputs to be excessive, resulting in a high sink rate and an undesirable helicopter attitude for touchdown. The instructor immediately took control of the helicopter and brought it back to a level attitude in an attempt to cushion the landing. The flight instructor stated that the main rotor RPM was low and most of the collective had been used to prevent a nose low impact. The helicopter then descended approximately one to two feet, impacting terrain in a level attitude and then bounced forward approximately four feet.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain rotor RPM and his improper touchdown during a simulated hovering autorotation. A contributing factor was the flight instructor's delayed remedial action. Full narrative available
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