NTSB Identification: ERA13LA116
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 17, 2013 in Ellington, CT
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R22 BETA, registration: N26NE
Injuries: 1 Minor,1 Uninjured.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On January 17, 2013, about 1245 eastern standard time, a Robinson R-22 helicopter, N26NE, was substantially damaged following a loss of control during a practice autorotation at Ellington Airport (7B9), Ellington, Connecticut. The certificated flight instructor (CFI) sustained minor injuries and the commercial-rated student pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the instructional flight that originated from 7B9 about 1240, and was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
According to the CFI, the helicopter remained at traffic pattern altitude in order to conduct a practice autorotation. The helicopter turned onto the final leg of the traffic pattern and the CFI and the pilot initiated an autorotation from about 950 feet above ground level by lowering the collective and reducing the throttle. Upon entry, the pilots observed an “excessively high” rotor RPM indication that continued to climb toward the top of the tachometer. Both pilots raised the collective control and pushed the cyclic control forward to decrease the rotor RPM, but the rotor RPM remained high and did not respond to control inputs.
As the helicopter approached the runway, the CFI elected to terminate the approach with power, and instructed the pilot to “join” the needles on the dual tachometer by restoring full engine power. Both the CFI and the pilot applied engine power simultaneously; however, the engine tachometer also indicated an overspeed condition. The CFI assumed sole control of the helicopter, and initiated a deceleration, but the helicopter pitched up, rolled right, and impacted the ground on its side, which resulted in substantial damage to the main rotor and fuselage.
The helicopter was removed from the accident site, and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors performed a preliminary examination. A detailed examination of the helicopter and its systems was scheduled for a later date.
According to operator records, the helicopter was manufactured in 1993 and had accrued 11,974 total aircraft hours as of the date of the accident. Its most recent annual inspection was completed June 19, 2012 and the most recent 100 hour inspection was completed January 8, 2013.
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