On October 14, 1994, at 0920 central daylight time, a Robinson R22 Beta helicopter, N80546, was destroyed during a forced landing near Eunice, Louisiana. The private pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight.

The pilot, who was a doctor, took off from a local hospital, and according to a witness two blocks from the hospital, was flying westbound along a road. The witness reported, "the pilot tried to keep the plane up, but something went wrong with the engine." The witness further reported the helicopter turned right towards a field, but the pilot "was unable to get the plane up so he crashed in the ditch" that parallels the road.


A review of the airframe and engine records did not reveal any anomalies or uncorrected maintenance defects prior to the flight.


Ground scars, were found on the north downslope side of a ditch that parallels a east and west oriented road. The aircraft came to rest on the road inverted 18 feet from the initial ground scars. There was a post impact fire. The transmission with the main rotor system came to rest on a station wagon 39 feet from the initial ground scar and on line with the main wreckage. A witness pulled it off the station wagon and put out the fire. The tail boom was separated from the main fuselage and was found 16 feet west of the main wreckage. See enclosed wreckage diagram for wreckage distribution details.

The carburetor heat was off. Examination of the helicopter and engine did not disclose any mechanical anomalies.


The temperature was 63 degrees Fahrenheit with a dew point of 59 at the time of the accident. According to the carburetor icing probability chart this places the airplane in the serious icing range at cruise power. The copy of the chart is enclosed with this report.


The autopsy was performed by Emil M. Laga, M.D., New Iberia, Louisiana. Toxicological result was positive for Fluoxetine and Norfluoxetine (prozac). In the opinion of Dr. Salazar, regional flight surgeon for the southwest region, the levels of 6.2 mg/kg Fluoxetine, and 15 mg/kg Norfluoxetine detected in the liver are above therapeutic levels. The two medications described are on the Federal Aviation Administration's prohibited usage list for pilots.

The manufacturer warns that these medications "may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Patients should be instructed to observe caution while driving or performing tasks requiring alertness, coordination or physical dexterity."


The wreckage was released to the owner's representative.

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