NYC00LA026
NYC00LA026

On November 6, 1999, at 1140 Eastern Standard Time, a homebuilt Exec 162F, N14JJ, was substantially damaged while attempting to hover at Pottstown Limerick Airport (PTW), Pottstown, Pennsylvania. The student pilot and his passenger received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector, the student pilot stated that he was conducting an air taxi, with his son onboard. He taxied about 1/4 mile, then turned the helicopter around to return to the point of departure. The helicopter hovered briefly in position, then was hit with a gust of wind. The helicopter "oscillated," and one of the rotor blades struck the ground.

A witness stated that he saw the helicopter as it began rocking, "like a boat in rough water." Then, it "suddenly crashed, throwing debris into the air."

The helicopter did not have an airworthiness certificate, and the student pilot had not obtained operating limitations for it.

The student pilot did not respond to requests for information, as required to be provided to the Safety Board by 49 CFR Part 830.

At the time of the accident, it was estimated that the student pilot had about 11 hours of total flight time. The student pilot's last known flight was on February 19, 1999. On that date, he received an instructor's endorsement for solo flight, which was valid for 90 days. The endorsement stated, in part, that the student pilot was competent for solo hover in winds not greater than 5 mph.

Weather, recorded at the airport 14 minutes after the accident, included winds from 270 degrees true, at 12, gusting to 17 knots.

According to 14 CFR Part 61, paragraph 61.89(a): "A student pilot may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft...that is carrying a passenger."

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