NTSB Identification: CEN10CA545
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 17, 2010 in Pikes Peak, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/05/2011
Aircraft: AEROSPATIALE AS 355F1, registration: N5802W
Injuries: 1 Serious,3 Minor.

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 pilot was operating his dual turbine-engine helicopter near a mountain in an effort to film an automobile driving on a road below. The pilot stated that he had operated around this particular mountain several times a year over the past 24 years and had established a flight profile which minimized the associated risks. One sharp turn in the road near the peak required the pilot to fly outbound from the mountain and make a gentle 180-degree turn back to film the automobile. When the pilot flew outbound from the mountain the flying conditions were normal. However, after turning 180 degrees and on the inbound leg towards the mountain, the helicopter encountered a downdraft and was pushed toward the rising terrain. Helicopter performance at that altitude did not provide the pilot with a power margin great enough to arrest the descent. The pilot elected to perform a landing to the road rather than risk a turn down the rocky mountain slope. The helicopter subsequently touched down hard and rolled over, resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage.

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

The helicopter's encounter with an unexpected downdraft, which resulted in a hard landing.

Full narrative available

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