ATL07CA046
ATL07CA046

According to the student pilot, "I lifted off and obtained a stable hover. As I started forward in the helicopter, it started to gyrate. I remember coming down in the grassy area at the entrance to the airport. The main rotor blades struck the ground. The next thing I remember is the Air Rescue people working to get me out of the helicopter."

According to the Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), this was the student pilot's first solo flight. The student pilot and the CFI had been doing dual flight instruction for about 45 minutes prior to the accident. Following the dual instruction the CFI asked the student pilot if he "felt good about a solo, and he stated yes". The student pilot lifted off with a "slight bobble" to about a five foot hover and seemed to recover from the "bobble". The CFI was in communication with the student by 2-way radio. The student lifted the helicopter upward and the helicopter started to gyrate erratically, gradually moving northbound. The student lost control and the helicopter struck the ground approximately 150 yards from the liftoff spot. Shortly after the accident emergency personnel arrived and provided medical assistance to the student pilot.

A witness stated that the R-44, lifted off from the taxiway. After lift off it appeared to "wobble" then the pilot got control of the R-44. He then lifted more and flew north. At approximately 120-feet above the ground the helicopter seemed to pitch nose up and then nose down and then flew into the ground.

Examination of the helicopter by an FAA inspector found that the helicopter struck the ground in a nose down attitude, substantially damaging the main rotors and cockpit. There were no mechanical problems reported by the student pilot or discovered during the post-accident examination of the helicopter.

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