Saturday, February 10, 2018

Robinson R22, N28VH, registered to and operated by Rocky Mountain Rotors LLC: Accident occurred July 21, 2017 at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (KBZN), Belgrade, Gallatin County, Montana

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Helena, Montana

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Rocky Mountain Rotors LLC:

Location: Bozeman, MT
Accident Number: GAA17CA434
Date & Time: 07/21/2017, 0830 MDT
Registration:  N28VH
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The flight instructor's unstabilized autorotation, which resulted in a hard landing.


Descent rate - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Prop/rotor parameters - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Instructor/check pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Hard landing (Defining event)
Attempted remediation/recovery

According to the helicopter flight instructor, he was demonstrating simulated 180° right turn autorotations.

He reported that during the entry of the third autorotation, the helicopter attitude was excessively nose low and the rate of descent was high.

He initiated a power-on recovery; however, the flare was initiated too late.

He applied forward cyclic to level the skids and increased collective to its mechanical limit, but the helicopter touched down and one of the main rotor blades struck the tailboom.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tailboom.

The pilot reported in the National Transportation Safety Board's, Pilot Aircraft Accident Report, "The event could have been avoided by recovering the autorotation sooner and doing a go-around."

The operator reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation. 

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 24, Female
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/14/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:  06/30/2017
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 302 hours (Total, all aircraft), 182 hours (Total, this make and model), 208 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 70 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 41 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Private; Student
Age: 31, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/07/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/12/2017
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 193 hours (Total, all aircraft), 52 hours (Total, this make and model), 61 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 54 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 24 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N28VH
Model/Series: R22 MARINER
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2004
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 3687
Landing Gear Type: Skid;
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/26/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1370 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2640.9 Hours
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-360 SERIES
Rated Power: 0 hp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KBZN, 4449 ft msl
Observation Time: 1356 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 329°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 16°C / 6°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots, 180°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting:  30.14 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration:  No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Bozeman, MA (KBZN)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Bozeman, MA (KBZN)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 0758 MST
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 4473 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Simulated Forced Landing 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  45.777500, -111.151944 (est)

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