NTSB Identification: ERA09CA367
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 24, 2009 in Morgantown, WV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2009
Aircraft: EUROCOPTER AS 350 B2, registration: N106HN
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.

About 1.5 hours after beginning an introductory instructional flight in the use of night vision goggles (NVGs), the pilot and the flight instructor returned to the airport to practice autorotations from a hover. After establishing the helicopter in a 3-foot hover, the flight instructor moved the fuel flow control lever toward the idle cutoff position. The pilot responded by increasing collective pitch, and the helicopter began to ascend, and as a result, the rotor rpm decayed. The flight instructor attempted to apply corrective action, but the pilot physically resisted his efforts. The helicopter descended rapidly to the ground, resulting in substantial damage to the tailboom. The pilot noted that during the maneuver, he had misjudged the helicopter’s height above the ground, due to the decreased peripheral vision afforded by the NVGs. This was the pilot’s first flight operating with NVGs.

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 during the practice hovering autorotation. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of experience in night vision goggle helicopter operations.

Full narrative available

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