NTSB Identification: WPR09FA104
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 31, 2009 in Fillmore, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/19/2011
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R22 BETA II, registration: N4160A
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 operator reported that the pilot had rented the helicopter for a personal proficiency flight to the local practice area. No eyewitnesses to the accident sequence were located. Documentation of the accident site noted that pieces of the tailcone, tailrotor flight controls, and tailrotor driveshaft were located about 900 feet away from the main wreckage at a location consistent with the main rotor blade contacting the tailcone while in flight. Inspection of the outboard end of the main rotor blades found red scuff marks, which appeared to match the red “Danger” decal on the tailcone. Evidence of black scuff marks consistent with the paint scheme of the main rotor blades were also noted on pieces of the tailcone. During the postaccident examination of the airframe and control system, there was no evidence found that would explain the main rotor disc's divergence from the normal plane of rotation and its subsequent contact with the tailboom. No evidence of a preimpact mechanical malfunction was observed during the examination of the engine, the airframe, or control systems.

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

An in-flight break-up while maneuvering as a result of the main rotor blades diverging from the normal plane of rotation and severing the tailboom. The underlying reason for the main rotor divergence could not be determined.

Full narrative available

Index for Jan2009 | Index of months