NTSB Identification: WPR09CA339
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 13, 2009 in Marysville, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2009
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R44, registration: N244HP
Injuries: 3 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 private pilot reported that he was flying the helicopter about 500 feet above the ground and decided to descend to follow a riverbed. While descending to the river, one of the passengers alerted him to the presence of power line wires that obstructed their flight path. The pilot applied full aft cyclic and collective in an attempt to avoid colliding with the wires; however, the tail boom and tail rotor contacted the wires. The impact resulted in the separation of the tail rotor blades and the bottom section of the vertical stabilizer from the helicopter. Following the collision the pilot initiated an autorotation. Upon touchdown, the helicopter bounced and when it touched down again, it was moving sideways to the left and rolled over. The helicopter came to rest on the bank of the river on its left side. Examination of the helicopter revealed substantial damage to the main rotor assembly, the tail rotor assembly, vertical stabilizer, tail boom, and fuselage. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical anomalies with the helicopter prior to the accident.

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

The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate clearance from the power line wires.

Full narrative available

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