NTSB Identification: WPR10CA057
14 CFR Part 133: Rotorcraft Ext. Load
Accident occurred Wednesday, November 18, 2009 in Lyons, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/23/2010
Aircraft: BELL 206B, registration: N16869
Injuries: 1 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 purpose of the flight was for the pilot to relocate Christmas trees to a nearby drop site. The pilot said that as he was maneuvering the helicopter to the drop site with a load, the helicopter began to settle with power. In reaction he applied more collective to arrest the descent. The helicopter continued to descend and he then attempted to reduce the collective and maneuver forward. The helicopter touched down hard on the heels of the skids and the helicopter's nose came to rest in a pile of Christmas trees. According to the FAA's Rotorcraft Flying Handbook, when recovering from settling with power "the tendency on the part of the pilot is to first try to stop the descent by increasing collective pitch. However, this only results in increasing the stalled area of the rotor, thus increasing the rate of descent" and instead the pilot should recover by "increasing forward speed, and/or partially lowering collective pitch." The pilot stated that there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe or engine.

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

The pilot's inadvertent encounter with a vortex ring state (settling with power) condition while he was descending, and his improper initial remedial action.

Full narrative available

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