SEA07LA028
SEA07LA028

On December 9, 2006, approximately 1130 mountain standard time, a Robinson R-22 helicopter, N611SC, rolled over onto its side during an off-airport precautionary landing about 10 miles east of Bountiful, Utah. The commercial pilot and his passenger received minor injuries, and the aircraft, which is operated by Suncrest Aviation, of Spanish Fork, Utah, sustained substantial damage. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal pleasure flight, which departed Bountiful Skypark about 20 minutes prior to the accident, was being operated in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan had been filed.

According to the pilot, he was taking his father-in-law on a local sight-seeing flight, and while looking around the local area he flew east up Holbrook Canyon. As he started up the canyon, he encountered a slight wind gust, but he decided to continue on up the canyon. Eventually he encountered gusting variable wind conditions and significant downdrafts. He therefore decided to turn around and fly back out of the canyon. As soon as he started to turn around, the helicopter encountered a strong downdraft, and it began to sink rapidly. As it began to sink, the main rotor rpm began to slow, so the pilot increased power and lowered the collective. Although the pilot was able to fly out of this downdraft, the aircraft entered another strong downdraft, and once again it sank toward the terrain with its main rotor rpm decreasing. In order to stop the descent, the pilot raised the collective, but the helicopter continued to sink and once again the main rotor rpm began to decay. By that time the helicopter was very close to the terrain, and because he felt he had no other choice, when the pilot spotted an open area he decided to land instead of trying to fly further in the presence of the strong downdrafts. Although the pilot was able to successfully touch down in the open area, soon after the skids came in contact with the rough steeply-sloped mountainous terrain, the helicopter rolled over onto its side.

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