Saturday, April 15, 2017

Robinson R22, N8560M LLC / Helicopter Academy, N8560M: Accident occurred December 01, 2015 near Venice Municipal Airport (KVNC), Sarasota County, Florida

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N8560M 

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA055
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 01, 2015 in Venice, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/2017
Aircraft: ROBINSON R22, registration: N8560M
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The flight instructor was preparing the pilot for her commercial rotorcraft-helicopter practical test. The instructor stated that they were returning to the airport when the engine shut down. The instructor entered an autorotation, which terminated in a hard landing. The instructor stated that he assumed the pilot pulled the mixture control instead of the carburetor heat because he saw it pulled after the helicopter came to a full stop on the ground; however, he never actually saw her pull the mixture control. The pilot stated that the instructor rolled the throttle to idle to simulate an in-flight loss of engine power as part of her checkride preparation. Both she and the instructor were operating the controls for the autorotation. The pilot said she was not sure what happened, but they landed hard and a section of windscreen popped out. She then pulled the mixture to shut off the engine, while the instructor used the rotor brake to stop the main rotor blades. The pilot exited the helicopter to recover the windshield and was subsequently struck in the head by a main rotor blade. Although the instructor’s and pilot’s accounts varied regarding the events leading up to the autorotation, they both reported that the autorotation ended in a hard landing, and that there were no mechanical issues with the helicopter or the engine that contributed to the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The flight instructor's failure to maintain control of the helicopter during an autorotation, which resulted in a hard landing.




On December 1, 2015, about 1530 eastern standard time, a Robinson R22, N8560M, made a forced landing to a field near Venice, Florida. The flight instructor sustained minor injuries and the private pilot was seriously injured. The helicopter was registered to N8560M, LLC, and operated by Helicopter Academy under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions existed near the accident site at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the Venice Municipal Airport (VNC), Venice, Florida, about 1430.

The flight instructor reported that he was preparing the pilot for her commercial rotorcraft-helicopter checkride. They had practiced several maneuvers before heading back to the airport. While en route to the airport, the instructor was asking the pilot where she would land in the event of an engine failure when he noticed that the manifold pressure had dropped below 18 inches of mercury, which necessitated activation of the carburetor heat. The instructor did not recall if he told the pilot to turn the carburetor heat on, but remembered looking back outside because they were discussing forced landing areas. The instructor said the pilot then accidentally "pulled the mixture" versus the carburetor heat and "shut off the engine." He immediately took control of the helicopter, entered an autorotation, and landed "hard." The windshield popped out and the helicopter rocked back and forth before it came to rest. The instructor said the pilot then exited the helicopter and ran toward the front. The main rotor blades were still moving and struck the pilot's head. The instructor said he never saw the pilot actually pull the mixture control in flight. He assumed that she did, because when he went to shut the engine down, the mixture control's safety gate was on the floor and the mixture control was pulled out.

The pilot stated that while returning to Venice, the instructor asked her where she would land if they had an engine failure. She said the beach, but the instructor pointed out a more suitable spot. The instructor then called out "3-2-1" and rolled off the throttle to simulate an engine failure. The pilot said that both of them were on the controls and the autorotation looked good until they were about 250 feet from the landing spot. The helicopter landed hard, but she did not know why. Once on the ground, the pilot said she "pulled the mixture" while the instructor had his hand on the rotor-brake. She then exited the helicopter to go retrieve the windshield that had popped off during landing. While standing out in front of the helicopter, one of the main rotor blades struck her on the left side of the head, fracturing her orbital bone.

Both the instructor and pilot reported there were no mechanical deficiencies that would have precluded normal operation of the helicopter or engine.

The instructor held a commercial pilot certificate for rotorcraft-helicopter and was also a certified flight instructor in rotorcraft-helicopter. He reported a total flight experience of 700 hours, of which, 600 hours were in the R22. The instructor's last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second class medical was issued on August 11, 2015.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate for rotorcraft-helicopter. She reported a total flight experience of 150 hours, of which, 150 hours were in the R22. The pilot's last FAA second class medical was issued on June 6, 2015.

Weather reported at VNC at 1535 was wind 310 degrees at 6 knots, clear skies, and visibility great than 10 miles. The temperature was 79 degrees F and the dewpoint was 72 degrees F.


NTSB Identification: ERA16LA055
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 01, 2015 in Venice, FL
Aircraft: ROBINSON R22, registration: N8560M
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 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 December 1, 2015, about 1530 eastern standard time, a Robinson R22, N8560M, made a forced landing to a field near Venice, Florida. The flight instructor sustained minor injuries and the private pilot was seriously injured. The helicopter landed on soft terrain and sustained damaged to the skids, fuselage, tail boom, and windshield. The helicopter was registered to N8560M, LLC, and operated by Helicopter Academy under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions existed near the accident site at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the Venice Municipal Airport, Venice, Florida, about 1430.

The flight instructor reported that he was preparing the pilot for her commercial rotorcraft-helicopter check-ride. They had practiced several maneuvers before heading back to the airport. While en route to the airport, the instructor was asking the pilot where she would land in the event of an engine failure when he noticed that the manifold pressure had dropped below 18 inches of mercury, necessitated activation of the carburetor heat. The instructor did not recall if he told the pilot to turn the carburetor heat on, but remembered looking back outside because they were discussing forced landing areas. The instructor said the pilot then accidentally "pulled the mixture" versus the carburetor heat and "shut off the engine." He immediately took control of the helicopter, entered an autorotation, and landed "hard." The windshield popped out and the helicopter rocked back and forth before it leveled out. The instructor said the pilot then exited the helicopter and ran toward the front. The main rotor blades were still moving and struck the pilot's head. The instructor said he never saw the pilot actually pull the mixture in flight. He assumed that she did, because when he went to shut the engine down, the mixture control's safety gate was on the floor and the mixture control was pulled out.

The pilot stated that while returning to Venice, the instructor asked here where she would land if they had an engine failure. She said the beach, but the instructor pointed out a more suitable spot. The instructor then called out "3-2-1" and rolled off the throttle to simulate an engine failure. The pilot said that both of them were on the controls and the autorotation looked good until they were about 250 feet from the landing spot. The pilot could not explain why the helicopter landed hard. Once on the ground, the pilot said she "pulled the mixture" while the instructor had his hand on the rotor-brake. She then exited the helicopter to go retrieve the windshield that had popped off during landing. While standing out in front of the helicopter, one of the main rotor blades struck her on the left side of the head, fracturing her orbital bone.

Both the instructor and pilot reported there were no mechanical deficiencies that would have precluded normal operation of the helicopter or engine.

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