NTSB Identification: WPR09CA118
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 18, 2009 in Encinitas, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/12/2009
Aircraft: Robinson Helicopter R22 Beta II, registration: N588LE
Injuries: 2 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, who also operated the flight school that owned the helicopter, reported that he was giving a prospective flight instructor a pre-employment check ride. The flight instructor entered a practice autorotation from approximately 700 to 800 feet mean sea level to the beach at the ocean shoreline with the plan to perform a power recovery. When the flight instructor attempted to increase power, the power recovered to only approximately 70 percent. The pilot took the flight controls and performed an emergency autorotation to the sandy beach. The helicopter's forward motion was between 3 to 5 knots when it touched down. The pilot said the helicopter stopped suddenly due to the wet sand, causing the aircraft to rock forward and back. The backward motion permitted a main rotor blade to slice through and separate the tail boom. A post accident engine run was performed with no operational difficulties noted.

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

A partial loss of engine power for an undetermined reason. Contributing to the accident was the soft terrain.

Full narrative available

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