On May 25, 1993 at 1920 hours Pacific daylight time, a Robinson R-22 helicopter, N2312N, collided with a fence shortly after lifting off the operator's ramp area at Whiteman Airpark (WHP), Pacoima, California. The noncertificated student pilot was beginning a local area visual flight rules solo flight. The helicopter, operated by Watson Helicopters, sustained substantial damage. The student pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

The operator reported in the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report, NTSB Form 6120.1/2, that the instructor had previously flown with the student pilot at the practice area. During the instruction period, the student performed several takeoffs and landings. The flight then returned to Whiteman Airpark.

The instructor de-planed the helicopter and informed the student to make a vertical takeoff to hover, then hover over the fence and land on the end of the taxiway. The instructor observed the student make a good takeoff and hover and then walked into the building. When the student did not return to the building, the instructor walked outside and found the crash site.

The student recalls the engine "RPM getting high". Witnesses observed the helicopter "swinging and yawing" prior to the tail rotor striking the ground. The student unsuccessfully tried to transition into forward flight but does not remember using the anti-torque controls to correct for the yawing effects.

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