NTSB Identification: CEN09CA270
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, April 23, 2009 in Kent, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/14/2009
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II, registration: N518SJ
Injuries: 4 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 helicopter pilot and three passengers were circling over rural terrain at an altitude of 150 feet above ground level and approximately 219 pounds overweight for the flight conditions when the pilot slowed to 10 knots with a tailwind. The helicopter began to lose main rotor rpm and the low-rotor aural warning sounded. The pilot lowered the collective in an attempt to maintain rotor rpm, but there was insufficient altitude to recover. The helicopter hit the ground with the tail rotor first and the body of the helicopter landed hard and skidded forward, crushing the left skid. The main rotors flexed downward during impact and severed the tailboom. The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical deficiencies, and that the accident would likely not have happened if he had turned into a headwind.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain control of the helicopter.

Full narrative available

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