DEN07CA009
DEN07CA009

On October 12, 2006, approximately 0919 mountain daylight time, a Robinson R22 BETA, N75262, piloted by a commercial pilot, was destroyed when it struck terrain following an in-flight loss of control while maneuvering at the Felix Road Ranch near Artesia, New Mexico. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot and passenger on board the airplane were not injured. The local wildlife-count flight originated at Felix River Ranch at approximately 0800 .

The pilot told an FAA inspector that he was flying along a ridge east to west at low altitude. He encountered what he thought was a reduction in rotor blade RPM, and descended to the south downslope. The wind had changed direction from out of the north and he experienced settling with power due to density altitude, power available, and adverse wind conditions.

In his accident report, the pilot said he was conducting a wildlife survey and when he took off, the wind was out of the south. About 45 minutes into the flight, the pilot made a [pedal] turn "to look at something. The wind had changed out of the west and when I turned back, I was going downwind." The helicopter began to descend towards the downslope of a hill. The pilot made a run-on landing, hit a clump of bushes, and rolled over.

FAA personnel examined the helicopter on site and found it laying on its right side. Both main rotor blades were broken, the left landing skid was broken, the tail boom and tail rotor were severed, and the fuselage frame was buckled.



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