NTSB Identification: WPR14CA101
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, January 21, 2014 in Showlow, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/05/2014
Aircraft: ENSTROM HELICOPTER CORP 280C, registration: N51683
Injuries: 2 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 just after takeoff he hovered the helicopter about two feet above the ground before starting a northwesterly takeoff run over an area of grass-covered, uneven terrain. The pilot noted that during the takeoff run, the main rotor RPM began to decay, so he added engine throttle to correct for the RPM decline. The helicopter subsequently descended and during touchdown, the left main landing gear skid collapsed. The helicopter rolled to the left, and the main rotor blades struck the ground. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the main rotor drive system, tail boom, and fuselage.

The pilot reported that the estimated gross weight of the helicopter at takeoff was 2,300 pounds, or approximately 50 pounds under the maximum gross weight of 2,350 pounds. The density altitude was calculated to be 7,015 feet mean sea level.

The pilot reported no preaccident 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 main rotor RPM during the takeoff run in a high density altitude environment, which resulted in a loss of aircraft control and collision with terrain.

Full narrative available

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