Thursday, December 31, 2015

Robinson R44, N4427H: Accident occurred December 09, 2015 in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida


NTSB Identification: GAA16CA075

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 09, 2015 in West Palm Beach, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/14/2016
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R44, registration: N4427H
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The solo student helicopter pilot reported that he conducted eight traffic pattern flights to a full stop on the runway. On his ninth approach, he was at the bottom of the landing transitioning to a hover, and he increased power while simultaneously applying left pedal. He reported that as he entered the hover his airspeed was "close to 5 knots or less" and his altitude was "approximately 5 to 10 feet above ground level," the helicopter began to rapidly yaw to the right, he applied full left pedal, and the helicopter rotated "approximately 450 to 460 degrees." The student pilot reported that the helicopter began to "wobble," he lowered the collective to land, the helicopter bounced once, and then skidded to a stop. A postflight inspection revealed substantial damage to the fuselage and tail boom.

The student pilot reported there were no pre-impact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The student pilot reported that the wind was 060 degrees at 3 knots at the accident airport, approximately one hour prior to the accident time. The closest weather reporting station to the accident airport is 12 nautical miles away, and reported that the wind was calm approximately 13 minutes after the accident time.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The student pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the landing, which resulted in a horizontal rotation of the helicopter, and abnormal runway contact.

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