NTSB Identification: WPR09FA459
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 20, 2009 in Forest Grove, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/03/2011
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R22 BETA, registration: N956SH
Injuries: 2 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 pilot under instruction was preparing for a certified flight instructor (CFI) check ride and was in the left seat. The CFI was in the right seat, and the two airmen were going to practice autorotations with power recoveries. A witness with helicopter experience observed several uneventful autorotations and then stopped watching; another witness heard a bang. The witnesses then observed the helicopter descending upright with the left skid low. Investigators examined the wreckage and observed signatures indicating that the engine and main rotor blades were rotating at a low speed at impact. The main rotor blades were also coned upward, which is indicative of a low main rotor rpm state. A safety notice issued by the helicopter's manufacturer notes that main rotor blade stall due to low main rotor rpm causes a high percentage of helicopter accidents. It points out that the stall causes the main rotor rpm to rapidly decrease, and leads to an immediate uncontrolled descent.

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

The flight crew’s failure to maintain adequate main rotor speed while maneuvering, which resulted in a main rotor blade stall and an uncontrolled descent into terrain.

Full narrative available

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