NTSB Identification: WPR13CA027
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, October 28, 2012 in Hanapepe, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2013
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R22 BETA, registration: N216AB
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 pilot reported that he had departed for a solo training flight to add a helicopter rating to his pilot certificate. He accelerated the helicopter to cruise flight and noticed an “unusual vibration.” He performed an immediate precautionary landing. During the touchdown sequence, one of the helicopter’s landing skids hit a tree branch, and the helicopter rolled onto its side. The helicopter’s main rotor impacted the tailboom, which separated from the fuselage. Several days after the accident, the pilot flew with his flight instructor in a different helicopter and attempted to replicate the vibration. As a result of this flight, the pilot believes that he encountered a tailwind during the accident flight that caused him to feel a vibration. Subsequently, 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 selection of an unsuitable landing area. Contributing to the pilot’s decision to land in an unsuitable landing area was his lack of helicopter experience, which led him to misidentify the precursor event.

Full narrative available

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