NTSB Identification: SEA06CA102.
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Accident occurred Friday, May 19, 2006 in Banks, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/03/2006
Aircraft: Hughes 369A, registration: N369V
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.

During the practical test for a flight instructor certificate, the pilot was asked by the examiner to perform a 180 degree autorotation with a power recovery. He entered the autorotation, executed the 180 degree turn, and initiated the flare at approximately 50 feet agl. He stated that he "failed to roll on enough throttle simultaneously with the flare as the rotor RPM started to decay." He further stated that the examiner told him, "power, power, power," which he interpreted as meaning pull up on the collective. The addition of pitch further decayed the rotor RPM. The helicopter made "a firm level landing," and the main rotor contacted and severed the tail boom. The pilot explained that in his training, he had learned to associate the term "power" with "pull power on the collective" and the term "roll on" with "roll on the throttle." When the examiner told him, "power, power, power," he reacted by applying collective, but the examiner was wanting him to add power by rolling on the throttle. The pilot stated that the accident could have been prevented by maintaining rotor RPM during the power recovery and "proper understanding of commands between DPE [examiner] and PIC."

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

The pilot's failure to maintain rotor rpm while performing a simulated autorotation, which resulted in a hard landing. A contributing factor was the pilot's incorrect interpretation of the examiner's instruction to add power.

Full narrative available

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