On January 18, 2005, at approximately 1220 central standard time, a Robinson R22, N26498, registered to and operated by Vortex Helicopters Inc., experienced a hard landing. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight. The flight instructor and student pilot reported no injuries, and the helicopter incurred substantial damage. The flight originated from Vortex Heliport, Long Beach, Mississippi, earlier that day, about 1200.

The instructor stated, the student entered a well maintained 70-knot glide prior to performing the autorotation recovery. The student flared too high, 10 to 12 feet agl and kept the throttle closed, preventing the governor from restoring the rpm needed to recover from the maneuver. The lack of sufficient lift and low altitude did not allow him to slow the decent. The skids and the tailboom of the helicopter incurred substantial damage from the hard landing.

The student pilot stated, everything at the time of the flare was normal; however, the instructor took control of the aircraft and felt him trying to roll the throttle on, but for some reason, the student was unable to release the throttle. The helicopter landed hard from about 5 to 6 feet above the ground.

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