NTSB Identification: NYC08CA083.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, January 15, 2008 in Fenner, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/2008
Aircraft: Robinson R44 II, registration: N122AA
Injuries: 1 Minor,3 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 of the Robinson R44 II was on the final leg of a visual flight rules (VFR) flight when, about 18 miles from the destination airport, he obtained a special VFR clearance from the approach controller due to snow showers in the area. The clearance was later canceled by the controller due to "saturation," and the pilot was told not to enter the area, which was several miles ahead. The pilot then turned the helicopter around and entered a "near zero/zero whiteout," but during the "tight" turn the attitude indicator "tumbled." The pilot then elected to perform a precautionary landing to a plowed field below. As the helicopter contacted the ground, the skids sunk into the soft terrain, and the aft portion of the tailboom and the skids separated from the fuselage. The weather reported at the destination airport at the time of the accident included 1 1/2 statute miles visibility in light snow and mist.

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

The pilot's delayed decision to perform a precautionary landing. Contributing to the accident was the reduced visibility in snow and the soft terrain.

Full narrative available

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