NTSB Identification: ERA12LA477
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, July 24, 2012 in St. Petersburg, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/13/2013
Aircraft: HUGHES 269C, registration: N9679F
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the pilot, the helicopter's last annual inspection had been completed 12 years prior to the accident. On the day of the accident, he decided to fly it to lubricate the parts. After liftoff, he brought the helicopter to a hover about 25 feet in the air and initiated some pedal turns. The nose of the helicopter then began to drift toward the right. He applied left pedal but the helicopter didn’t respond. The helicopter then circled 6 to 8 times, so the pilot lowered the collective, and the helicopter impacted the ground on the left skid, struck a fence, and then rolled over on its left side.

However, according to witnesses, the helicopter was about 50 feet in the air, did not circle but moved side to side, and was described as being out of control before it impacted the ground. Total flight time from liftoff to impact was about 2 minutes in duration. Postaccident examination did not reveal any preimpact failures or malfunctions of the helicopter which would have precluded normal operation. However, the cyclic control system would not move freely because the lateral friction control was tightened down. Once the lateral friction control was released, lateral movement of the cyclic control was possible.

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

The pilot's failure to assure that the lateral friction control was released prior to flight.

Full narrative available

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