FTW98LA049
FTW98LA049

On November 15, 1997, at 1100 central standard time, a Robinson R22-Beta helicopter, N26026, owned and operated by Caprock Helicopter Inc., of Lubbock, Texas, was substantially damaged following a loss of control while maneuvering near Lubbock, Texas. The student pilot was uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the Title 14 CFR Part 91 solo instructional flight and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Town and Country Airpark Airport, Lubbock, Texas, at 1000.

The student pilot reported that he executed a normal take-off to the north, from a grassy area beside runway 35. He stated that his mother's house is located 1 1/4 miles west and 1/2 miles north of the Town and Country Airport. He planned his traffic pattern so the turn from cross-wind to downwind would occur over his mother's house. As he approached the left turn, from cross-wind to downwind, he decided to continue flying west over the house. He then flew past the house by 1/2 mile, turned 180 degrees, and flew east towards the house, reducing the helicopter's airspeed and altitude to accommodate an out-of-ground-effect hover at 200 feet AGL, just north of the house. The pilot further stated that, the "wind turned the ship to the right abruptly," to a westerly heading. To correct, he applied left pedal, "but not enough" and the helicopter began "to lose altitude and control," so he released pressure on the left pedal, thinking he had compensated incorrectly. The aircraft continued turning to the right and passing through a northerly heading he began to apply left pedal. As the helicopter kept turning to the right the pilot applied full left pedal. The descent continued and the helicopter completed another 360 degree turn and contacted a fence. The helicopter came to rest on it's right side.

The pilot estimated the winds were from 010 degrees at 8 knots. Performance charts indicate that the helicopter was within it's flight envelope during the hover.

Examination of the helicopter, performed by an FAA inspector, revealed damage to the main rotor and tail rotor systems and the tail boom was found separated from the aircraft No control system anomalies were found.

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