Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Loss of Control in Flight: Schweizer 269C-1, N731TA; accident occurred February 17, 2020 at Ormond Beach Municipal Airport (KOMN), Volusia County, Florida

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Ormond Beach, Florida 
Accident Number: ERA20CA104
Date & Time: February 17, 2020, 15:15 Local 
Registration: N731TA
Aircraft: Schweizer 269C 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional


The student pilot reported that, while on his first solo flight in a helicopter, the wind began to increase. Concerned the wind may become unsafe, he decided to make a full-stop landing and complete the flight. After coming in for landing and while hovering over the runway, an air traffic controller instructed the student to exit the runway via the nearest taxiway. As he made a right pedal turn onto the taxiway, the helicopter began to yaw aggressively right. Concerned the helicopter was encountering a loss of tail rotor effectiveness, he applied additional right pedal and forward cyclic to increase airspeed and abort the landing. The helicopter began to spin uncontrollably and gain altitude. He rolled off the throttle and pulled aft cyclic and full collective, the right skid impacted the ground, and the helicopter then rolled onto its right side. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tailboom and fuselage. The student reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions 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 student pilot's improper pedal and cyclic input while maneuvering, which resulted in a loss of helicopter control.


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Student/instructed pilot
Personnel issues Use of equip/system - Pilot
Aircraft (general) - Not attained/maintained

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-hover Other weather encounter
Maneuvering-hover Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Maneuvering-hover Attempted remediation/recovery
Landing Roll over

Student pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 39,Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: December 19, 2019
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 64.6 hours (Total, all aircraft), 13.5 hours (Total, this make and model), 14 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 7.6 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0.6 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Schweizer
Registration: N731TA
Model/Series: 269C 1
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 0236
Landing Gear Type: Skid
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/03/2020, Continuous Airworthiness
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1750 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2717.5 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: HIO-360-G1A
Registered Owner: Tomlinson Aviation Inc
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: Tomlinson Aviation Inc
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: KOMN, 29 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2050 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/Atual: None / None
Wind Direction: 30°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.07 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 19°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Ormond Beach, FL (OMN)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Ormond Beach, FL (OMN)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time:  EST
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Ormond Beach Muni (OMN)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 27 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 09
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4005 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop

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: 29.301111, -81.113889 (est)

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