ATL03LA072
ATL03LA072

On March 27, 2003, at 1800 eastern standard time, a experimental Rotorway 162F, N92AL, registered to and operated by a private pilot had a loss of engine power and collided with terrain during an autorotation near Greensboro, North Carolina. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The helicopter sustained substantial damage, and the pilot was not injured. The flight departed a private strip in Greensboro, North Carolina on March 27, 2003 at 1730.

According to the pilot, after the preflight examination of the helicopter was completed, he departed and flew around the airstrip for approximately 45 minutes. After several passes over the airstrip, the pilot received an electronic control unit failure indication light. When the engine lost power, the pilot entered an autorotation. During the touchdown phase of the autorotation, the helicopter rolled over on the left side.

Examination of the wreckage site revealed, the helicopter came to rest on the left side. The left skid was collapsed and the tail boom separated from the main fuselage. The airframe of the helicopter was collapsed. There were no fuel leaks found in the fuel system, and no fuel was found in the fuel tanks. There was no evidence of fuel found at the accident site. The pilot did not report any mechanical or flight control malfunctions prior to the accident.

The helicopters engine control units (ECU) were sent to Rotorway International to be bench tested. The test revealed, the last 30 seconds of the flight indicated an increase in the throttle position with a corresponding decrease of engine RPM, with a rapid cycling during the final 12 seconds prior to the engine completely shutting down. The data retrieved from the ECUs revealed the flight prior to the accident lasted 10 minutes with a three-minute ground run. The accident flight was approximately 57 minutes.

The pilot stated that the helicopter fuel tank capacity is 14 gallons, and can fly for 2 hours or 180 miles with full fuel. According to the pilot, the helicopter departed with 14 gallons of automotive fuel.







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