NTSB Identification: DFW06LA141.
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Accident occurred Sunday, May 28, 2006 in Payne Springs, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/03/2006
Aircraft: Robinson R44, registration: N42KJ
Injuries: 2 Serious,1 Minor.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
A 1,350-hour private helicopter pilot verified that the helicopter's fuel tanks were full, free of contamination, and the engine oil level was "normal" prior to departure. The pilot and 2 passengers then departed for a private residence located near a lake; no abnormalities were noted during departure or en route to the residence. The pilot reported, "that within a few miles of his destination, he reduced power to 21 inches and gradually descended to 900 feet mean sea level (msl)". Without any indication of a problem, the engine lost power. The pilot lowered collective just as the low-rotor warning light illuminated and horn sounded. The pilot flared about 50 feet above the water; however, the helicopter impacted the surface of the water with "significant force". The helicopter was retrieved from the lake and a visual inspection of the engine failed to note any pre-impact abnormalities. An external power source was connected to the helicopter, and the "manual override" was used to disengage the engine and rotor/transmission. The engine was then turned by hand; thumb compression was obtained on all cylinders and engine continuity was established through the engine. Additionally, the carburetor heat control was found in the "automatic" position. A review of the Carburetor Icing chart reveals that the temperature/dew point spread, puts the flight in the "Serious icing - descent power" operating realm. A check of the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) fuel records revealed that on 27 May, 2006, the helicopter was filled with 38.5 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. On 29 June, 2006, under the supervision of an NTSB representative, an additional examination of the engine was conducted at the factory. Both the ignition and fuel systems were checked. The engine was removed from the airframe, placed in an engine test cell and prepared for an engine run. The engine was run at various power settings for 20 minutes. A reason for the reported loss of engine power could not be determined.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The loss of engine power for undetermined reasons. Full narrative available
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