NTSB Identification: LAX06CA221.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, June 28, 2006 in Fresno, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/03/2006
Aircraft: Robinson R-44, registration: N52EP
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 pilot lost tail rotor authority control of the helicopter during a downwind hovering turn. The helicopter was parked facing a downwind direction and the pilot estimated the winds at 13 knots. The pilot positioned the helicopter to a hover about 4-5 feet above ground level (agl) and initiated a left pedal turn into the wind. He felt the tail rotor start to shudder, and the helicopter began yawing to the left. The helicopter then entered a spin and started to gain altitude. After three spins, the pilot executed a hovering autorotation at 15 feet agl. The left skid contacted the ground first. The helicopter then nosed forward about 30 degrees, and the main rotor blades hit the ground. The pilot applied aft cyclic, and the helicopter touched down level on both skids. The helicopter came to rest on a sloped area between the taxiway and runway. The pilot stated that the helicopter and engine had no mechanical failures or malfunctions during the flight.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain directional control following a loss of tail rotor effectiveness while in a downwind hover.

Full narrative available

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