NTSB Identification: WPR10CA193
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 29, 2009 in San Juan Batista, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/01/2010
Aircraft: ROBINSON R44, registration: N144RF
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 helicopter pilot stated that he was landing in an open field on his property to attend a meeting. Upon arrival at the field, he performed an aerial survey of his intended landing site checking for wires or obstacles. He also evaluated the weather, which was clear with a calm wind. After landing, he noted that the group of people he was meeting with was on the other side of a ditch about 50 yards away, so he decided to hover-taxi closer to their location. As the helicopter traversed over the ditch, the pilot surveyed the area looking for wires and obstacles. Seeing none, he proceeded to make a turn to land. As the pilot initiated the turn, he saw power lines about 40 feet in front of and above the helicopter. He made a quick right turn to avoid the power lines, "but made contact with the tail rotor…." Not knowing the damage to the tail rotor, he lowered the collective and landed as quickly as possible from an altitude of about 8 feet. The pilot stated that, in his urgency to shut down the helicopter, he "dropped the collective very fast," which he stated caused the main rotor blades to impact the tail boom. The pilot also stated that he got out of his normal routine of performing a pre-landing inspection of his intended landing area when he decided to hover-taxi to an alternate location. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical problems 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 wires while maneuvering and his subsequent improper use of the collective control, which resulted in the main rotor contacting the tail boom.

Full narrative available

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