NTSB Identification: ATL07CA046.
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Accident occurred Monday, February 26, 2007 in Covington, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/29/2007
Aircraft: Robinson R-44, registration: N448BP
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 student pilot lost control of the helicopter after takeoff during his first solo flight and struck the ground in uncontrolled flight. According to the student pilot, "I lifted off and obtained a stable hover. As I started forward in the helicopter, it started to gyrate. I remember coming down in the grassy area at the entrance to the airport. The main rotor blades struck the ground. The next thing I remember is the Air Rescue people working to get me out of the helicopter." The Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), stated that this was the student pilot's first solo flight. The student pilot and the CFI had been doing dual flight instruction for about 45 minutes prior to the accident. Following the dual instruction the CFI ask the student pilot if he "felt good about a solo, and he stated yes". The student pilot lifted off with a "slight bobble" to about a five foot hover and seemed to recover from the "bobble". The CFI was in communication with the student by 2-way radio. The student lifted the helicopter upward and the helicopter started to gyrate erratically, gradually moving northbound. The student lost control and the helicopter struck the ground approximately 150 yards from the liftoff spot. Examination of the helicopter by an FAA inspector found that the helicopter struck the ground in a nose down attitude, substantially damaging the main rotors and cockpit. There were no mechanical problems reported by the student pilot or discovered during the post-accident examination of the helicopter.

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

The student pilot's failure to maintain control of the helicopter during liftoff, which resulted in an in-flight collision with the ground.

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