NTSB Identification: ERA09FA022
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 16, 2008 in Dryden, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/03/2010
Aircraft: ROBINSON R22, registration: N943MH
Injuries: 1 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 pilot departed on the multi-leg cross-country trip in the accident helicopter two days after receiving his helicopter rating. His instructor cautioned him about the flight, and the pilot delayed his departure on the accident leg due to weather. Radar data and GPS track data depicted the helicopter in a shallow descent, on a westerly track, about 1,700 feet msl, approximately 1 mile prior to the accident site on a north-south ridgeline that reached 1,600 feet msl. Weather reported 6 miles from the accident site included an overcast ceiling at 1,000 feet (2,099 feet msl), and a pilot who departed the airport around the same time as the accident stated that the ceiling was at 500 feet (1,599 feet msl), "with ragged bases and light turbulence." AIRMET SIERRA for instrument meteorological conditions and mountain obscuration was valid for the accident location. Review of local weather revealed generally marginal VFR conditions were present behind the front, although higher terrain was occasionally obscured in clouds. Examination of the wreckage revealed no mechanical or pre-impact anomalies. The pilot had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer and underwent surgery and chemotherapy 15 months prior to the accident. Just prior to the accident, the pilot was diagnosed with metastatic disease in his lung and liver, findings associated with a very poor prognosis. It is unclear what role, if any, the pilot’s recurrent, metastatic esophageal cancer played in the accident.

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

The pilot's continued visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions which resulted in controlled flight into terrain.

Full narrative available

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