SEA97LA115
SEA97LA115

On May 16, 1997, approximately 1500 mountain daylight time, N2328W, a Robinson R-22B helicopter, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain during a power recovery from an autorotation at Boise Air Terminal, Boise, Idaho. The student pilot, and the FAA operations inspector who was giving a checkride to the student, were uninjured. No flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed from the same airport about an hour earlier. There was no fire and no report of the ELT actuating.

In a statement shortly after the accident, the inspector stated that on hovering rotation to touchdown, the student pilot, who was on the flight controls, reduced throttle to flight idle, entered autorotation and rapidly raised the collective, then rolled the throttle back to flight idle, causing a right yaw. The helicopter struck the ground while in rotation and rolled onto its side. The inspector estimated that the helicopter rotated 360 degrees at least eight times.

In a later written statement, the FAA inspector stated that he had asked the student to demonstrate a hovering autorotation. There procedures were discussed prior to the execution of the maneuver. The inspector noted that the student stated that on the count of three he would start the maneuver by rolling the throttle off first. The inspector stated that as he was adjusting himself on the seat, at the count of one, the applicant rolled the throttle partially off, induced right pedal as hard as he could and pulled on the collective as quickly as he could.

The inspector noted that during the maneuver, the engine returned to full power because of the corrolator. The aircraft climbed to approximately 15 feet and started to spin. The inspector said that by then he was on the controls and was asking the applicant to let go. He stated that the student pilot froze on the controls during the maneuver and refused to let go. After approximately eight or nine spins, he was unable to maintain control of the helicopter, with the applicant still at the controls at the time of the crash.

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