NTSB Identification: WPR12CA351
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 11, 2012 in Monticello, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/05/2012
Aircraft: ROBINSON R22, registration: N7135J
Injuries: 2 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 reported that while flying in a canyon about 300 feet above ground level (agl), he spotted a black bear, which prompted him to maneuver the helicopter for a closer look. The pilot stated that he then descended to about 50 feet agl before flying upslope but allowed his airspeed to drop below 20 knots, which was outside the helicopter’s ability to hover. The pilot reported that he then received a low rotor rpm warning and took corrective action to maintain sufficient rotor rpm, but the helicopter began to settle. The pilot added that without sufficient room to gain airspeed and lift he was going to have to land the helicopter. During the landing, the helicopter impacted several trees and the ground before coming to rest on its right side. The tail section, tail rotor blades, main rotor blades, main cabin, and skids sustained extensive damage. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate main rotor rpm while maneuvering at a low altitude, which resulted in the helicopter settling and subsequently colliding with the ground. Contributing to the accident was that the pilot had insufficient altitude to accomplish a successful recovery.

Full narrative available

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