Monday, May 18, 2020

Loss of Control in Flight: Hughes 269A, N9020M; accident occurred March 10, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida

View of damage to the main rotor and tail rotor drive system.
Federal Aviation Administration

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

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Jacksonville, FL
Accident Number: GAA18CA159
Date & Time: 03/10/2018, 1430 EST
Registration: N9020M
Aircraft: HUGHES 269
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The helicopter pilot reported that he entered a practice autorotation and intended to terminate the maneuver to a hover. During the flare phase of the maneuver, he allowed the rotor rpm to decay. He increased collective and subsequently added power with throttle. The nose of the helicopter yawed to the right and simultaneously the fuselage rolled to the left. He applied left pedal, but the left skid struck rising terrain and the helicopter entered dynamic rollover.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the main rotor drive system and the tail rotor drive system.

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

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain rotor rpm during a practice autorotation, which resulted in ground contact and a dynamic rollover.


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

Personnel issues
Use of equip/system - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Mountainous/hilly terrain - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

History of Flight

Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Dynamic rollover

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 60, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/11/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/15/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 12958 hours (Total, all aircraft), 301 hours (Total, this make and model), 88 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 31 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: HUGHES
Registration: N9020M
Model/Series: 269 A
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1964
Amateur Built:No 
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 64-18188
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/04/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1550 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4093.8 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: HIO-360-B1A
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCRG, 41 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Observation Time:1953 UTC 
Direction from Accident Site: 171°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:/ None
Wind Direction: 140°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Jacksonville, FL (CRG)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Jacksonville, FL (CRG)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1415 EST
Type of Airspace: Class D 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 30.387778, -81.524167 (est)


  1. All stated records relative to the accident that occurred on 3/10/2018 in Jacksonville, FL, involving N9020M.

  2. John T. Vito crashed this borrowed helo due to being a dumb ass. Did not fuel up before he took off from his owned FBO Craig Air Center. Did not offer to pay for the damage or replace. He is the worst person ever and uses people then pushes them away in one way or another, his spouse is just as bad. Karma will come back on him, too many lawsuits pending to waste time trying to get any money for the helo, a lot of people in line to get some..