NTSB Identification: CHI07FA114
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 22, 2007 in Bass Lake, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/15/2009
Aircraft: Robinson Helicopter Company R44 II, registration: N382BT
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The helicopter was en-route to the pilot's residence located on a lake. The accident occurred during a dark night in visual meteorological conditions. As the helicopter crossed the lake, it was observed descending steadily towards the water, hovering for about 1-2 seconds, then falling vertically from approximately 40-50 feet into the lake. The helicopter impacted the water about 1/4 mile from the intended landing area. The pilot and his passenger survived the impact, but died of hypothermia due to their prolonged exposure to cold lake water. The investigation revealed no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have prevented the normal operation of the helicopter. Outside visual reference for airspeed and rate of closure may not be available at night, especially when approaching an unlighted landing area. A pilot's failure to monitor altitude, airspeed, and rate of descent during an approach can result in a settling-with-power condition. The helicopter's flight profile before impact was consistent with a settling-with-power flight condition.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain a proper approach glidepath, which resulted in a settling-with-power flight condition. Contributing to the accident was the dark night light condition.

Full narrative available

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