NTSB Identification: LAX07TA029.
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Accident occurred Sunday, November 05, 2006 in Apple Valley, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/29/2007
Aircraft: Eurocopter France AS350B3, registration: N109HP
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

The helicopter landed hard during a practice hover autorotation. The purpose of the flight was for the commercial pilot to receive training from the certificated flight instructor (CFI). The flight consisted of the commercial pilot performing about five straight-in practice autorotation maneuvers, where the maneuver was performed by initially lowering the collective control. After the flight, the commercial pilot configured the helicopter in a hover taxi to a concrete parking area, where the flight was to terminate. As the helicopter became aligned with the intended parking area it remained in a hover about 3 feet above ground level (agl). The CFI announced "hovering auto" and subsequently rolled the throttle to the idle position. The commercial pilot reacted by abruptly lowering the collective to the down position. As soon as the CFI perceived that the commercial pilot had pushed the collective downward, he attempted to raise it. The helicopter stuck the ground hard in a level attitude. The CFI reported no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter prior to impact. According to the helicopter's flight manual, the first instruction in an autorotation landing from hover is to "not reduce collective pitch."

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

the pilot's improper use of the collective control during a practice hover autorotation, which resulted in a hard landing. A factor in the accident was the certificated flight instructor's inadequate supervision of the maneuver.

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