NTSB Identification: ERA16LA326
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, September 22, 2016 in Ozark, AL
Aircraft: HUGHES 269B, registration: N269BS
Injuries: 2 Minor.
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 September 22, 2016, at 1630 central daylight time, a Hughes 269B helicopter, N269BS, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Ozark, Alabama. The flight instructor and student pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local instructional flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
The flight instructor and the student pilot each provided written statements, and their accounts of the accident were consistent throughout. According to the flight instructor, the helicopter was in cruise flight at 75 mph and 800 feet mean sea level (msl) when he announced "simulated engine failure" and reduced the throttle and collective controls.
The student pilot responded to the simulated emergency, and adjusted the flight controls in order to establish an autorotation at 60 mph. He said that a cross-check of the instruments revealed that all were "normal" or "in the green."
The flight instructor stated that he initiated recovery of the maneuver at 100 feet above ground level (agl) by advancing the throttle and checking engine and rotor rpm indications. Because the engine rpm indication was "zero," the flight instructor announced an actual engine failure, joined the student pilot on the flight controls, and completed the autorotation to the ground.
At touchdown, the helicopter bounced on the "right front skid" and rolled over onto its right side.
The flight instructor held a commercial pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land, rotorcraft helicopter and instrument airplane and helicopter. He also held ratings for airplane single-engine land, rotorcraft helicopter and instrument airplane and helicopter. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued June 2016.
On September 29, 2015, the pilot declared 5,154 total hours of flight experience, of which 160 hours were in the accident helicopter make and model.
A review of the student pilot's records revealed he had accumulated 35 total hours of flight experience, all of which was in the accident helicopter.
According to FAA and maintenance records, the helicopter was manufactured in 1965 and was powered by a Lycoming HIO-360-A1A engine. Its most recent annual inspection was completed September 1, 2016, at 4,749 total aircraft hours.
At 1653, the weather reported at Hanchey Army Heliport (HEY), 5 nautical miles south of the accident site included few clouds at 6,000 feet agl with 10 statute miles visibility. The wind was from 330 degrees at 5 knots. The temperature was 33 degrees C, the dew point was 19 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 29.96 inches of mercury.
Photographs of the wreckage revealed the cockpit and fuselage were largely intact. The main rotor blades were damaged and the tailboom was severed. The helicopter was recovered to the operator's facility, and on October 4, 2016, an engine start was attempted on the airframe utilizing the helicopter's own battery and starter under the supervision of an FAA inspector.
The engine started immediately and ran smoothly without interruption until shut down by the cockpit controls.