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N185MH accident description

New Hampshire map... New Hampshire list
Crash location 42.781667°N, 71.514722°W
Nearest city Nashua, NH
42.765366°N, 71.467566°W
2.6 miles away
Tail number N185MH
Accident date 27 Jun 2003
Aircraft type Robinson R22 Beta
Additional details: None
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NTSB Factual Report

On June 27, 2003, about 1800 eastern daylight time, a Robinson R22 Beta helicopter, N185MH, was substantially damaged during a landing at Boire Field (ASH), Nashua, New Hampshire. The student pilot was not injured. No flight plan was filed for the local flight that originated out of Boire Field, about 1730. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the solo instructional flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In a written statement, the student pilot said he was practicing approaches-to-a-hover and departures east of runway 14. He completed his first pattern without incident, but noted that during departure, he had to use "very little left pedal." He continued to fly, and attributed it to his unfamiliarity with flying the helicopter solo.

On the second pattern, the student pilot once again noticed the "unusual need for right pedal" during departure, but dismissed it, flew the pattern, and made another "normal approach." At the end of the approach, when the helicopter was about 10-feet above ground level (agl), the student pilot increased the collective to enter into a hover. However, when he increased the collective, the helicopter descended rapidly, and contacted the ground with the rear skids. The nose of the helicopter dropped, and it slid slightly forward as the collective was lowered full down.

According to the pilot, "In retrospect, I recall needing a great deal of right peddle to maintain heading, perhaps nearly full travel...I did not realize until later that I had landed with the wind at my tail. As I think back, I remember looking directly into the mouth of the windsock."

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector performed an examination of the helicopter on June 30, 2003, and reported damage to the tail boom, firewall, and fuselage.

The student pilot reported a total of 23.7 flight hours, of which, 1.6 hours were solo.

According to the FAA Rotorcraft Flying Handbook, "Strong crosswinds and tailwinds may require the use of more tail rotor thrust to maintain directional control. This increased tail rotor thrust absorbs power from the engine, which means there is less power available to the main rotor for the production of lift."

The weather at Boire Field, at 1547, was reported as winds from 280 degrees at 7 knots, 5 statute miles visibility in moderate rain, a broken cumulonimbus cloud layer at 5,000 feet, and a barometric pressure setting of 29.73 inches Hg. The temperature was 93 degrees Fahrenheit, and the dewpoint was 66 degrees Fahrenheit.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to determine the wind direction, which resulted in a hard, tailwind landing.

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