NTSB Identification: DFW08LA140
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 10, 2008 in Austin, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/08/2008
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R22 MARINE, registration: N8316D
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The pilot and pilot rated passenger were operating a single-engine helicopter equipped with pontoons over a lake for the purpose of photographing recreational boats. Several witnesses observed the helicopter flying erratic and at a low altitude over the boats before it impacted the water and rolled inverted. The pilot stated that they were tracking a boat approximately 100 feet above the ground level. The boat was traveling to the south and they were flying to the north with a tail wind. He said that he executed a right hand turn and noticed that the rotor RPM had begun to decrease, the rotor RPM horn came on, and the governor light began to flash. The pilot immediately began to execute a low rotor RPM recovery by lowering the collective, increasing engine power, and continuing to turn into the wind but was unable to recover RPM before hitting the water. The helicopter hit the water and bounced back up with a bit of a wave. When the helicopter came back down, a wake from one of the boats they had been tracking washed over the floats, which caused the helicopter to roll to the front and flip over. The governor controller was examined and no anomalies were noted.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain rotor RPM while maneuvering at a low altitude, which resulted in a loss of control.

Full narrative available

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