Friday, January 29, 2016

Robinson R22 Beta, N7020U, Binner Enterprises LLC: Accident occurred January 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada


NTSB Identification: WPR16LA056 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, NV
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R22, registration: N7020U
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 22, 2016, about 1100 Pacific standard time, a Robinson R22 Beta, N7020U, sustained substantial damage during a hard landing following the student pilot's loss of directional control when he was attempting to transition from a hover taxi to a climbing departure at Las Vegas, Nevada. The pilot was not injured. The instructional solo flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan was filed for the flight. 

According to the pilot, the helicopter was rented from a fixed base operator (FBO) and FAR Part 61 flight school based at North Las Vegas airport (VGT), Las Vegas. The purpose of the flight was to practice maneuvers at a water retention basin that was located about 10 miles to the west of VGT. The area was a normal practice area for the FBO, and was referred to as the "northwest" practice area. 

In his written statement regarding the accident, the pilot reported that he met with his flight instructor, briefed the flight, and then both individuals preflighted the helicopter.

Engine start and run up were normal, and the reported VGT winds were "variable" at 7 knots out of the south. He was cleared for departure by the air traffic control tower about 1040, and proceeded to the practice area uneventfully. 

The pilot intended to practice normal approaches to a pinnacle landing. He flew a right traffic pattern over the levee to verify wind direction, and to choose a location on the levee to which he would conduct the approach. He confirmed that the wind was still out of the south, and flew a northbound right downwind leg at approximately 500 feet above ground level (agl), at a speed of about 65 knots. He began a descent while turning onto the base leg, and maintained a descent rate of about 300 feet per minute (fpm) on final, while also decelerating. He brought the helicopter into a hover taxi about 10 feet agl above the level. 

The pilot reported that he then "pushed forward" on the cyclic control to begin a climb out for another pattern. The helicopter began to yaw to the right, and despite application of full left pedal, continued its right yawing motion. The pilot "rolled off" the throttle in an attempt to decrease the yaw rate, and concurrently lowered the collective control. The helicopter continued its right spin, and was drifting to the west, over the concrete slope of the levee. The pilot then decided to "gradually raise collective" in an attempt to reduce the descent rate before ground contact. The helicopter made a hard landing almost immediately after, but remained upright. The pilot then shut down the helicopter, and telephoned his flight instructor, who had remained back at VGT. 

The pilot reported that he had a total flight experience of approximately 50 hours, all of which was in Robinson helicopters, and which included about 7 hours solo in the R22. 

FAA information indicated that the helicopter was manufactured in 1998, and was equipped with a Lycoming O-360 series engine. Damage to the helicopter included fracture-separated tail rotor blades, a buckled tail boom, and deformation of the landing skids. The helicopter was recovered to a secure location for subsequent examination. 

The 1053 VGT automated weather observation included winds from 140 degrees at 6 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 13 degrees C, dew point minus 6 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.21 inches of mercury.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Las Vegas FSDO-19

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