On August 26, 1998, about 1805 eastern daylight time, a Robinson R-22, N9067G, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in Duncannon, Pennsylvania. The certificated student pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological prevailed for the personal flight, which originated from a private heliport in Duncannon, about 1 minute before the accident. No flight plan had been filed for the flight that was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to a written statement from an Inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA):

"...[the pilot] stated that he had just taken off from his house and was about 200-250 feet into the air when the engine quit. He entered autorotation and impacted the ground hard...during the preflight inspection, he sumped the fuel tank at both the upper and lower drains. The lower drain fuel was clear however, the fuel that came out of the upper drain was yellow in color. He then confirmed the fuel in the taken was at least 2 years old."

According to a statement from an FAA Inspector, the skids were broken off, the tail boom was bent down, and main rotor blades had not contacted the tail boom. The Inspector also stated:

"...The Gascolator Bowl appeared to be filled with a dark colored liquid...A large amount of fine black particles coating the inside of the bowl appeared to be rust. The liquid was water. The fuel shut-off was then operated to obtain a fuel sample...The sample came out milky then cloudy. A large amount of water, approximately one quart, was noted...The fuel was amber in color...

The fuel sample was examined by the US Army Petroleum Center in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. They reported:

" is clear that the product is actually automotive gasoline, premium grade, 91 Octane. The product still failed the water and sediment [tests]...This excessive gum indicates an old product that has undergone significant oxidation/degradation..."

The pilot reported that he had not flown the helicopter since prior to January 18, 1995. He possessed a student pilot certificate, but it did not contain a solo endorsement.

The last annual inspection was conducted on August 24, 1995.

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