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N175BM accident description

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Crash location 39.735555°N, 75.397500°W
Nearest city Pedricktown, NJ
39.767336°N, 75.414637°W
2.4 miles away
Tail number N175BM
Accident date 30 Dec 2004
Aircraft type Enstrom 280C
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On December 30, 2004, about 1200 eastern standard time, an Enstrom 280C, N175BM, was substantially damaged during a hard landing following an autorotation near Spitfire Aerodrome (7N7), Pedricktown, New Jersey. The certificated private pilot received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight, conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to pilot, he had received 4 hours of dual instruction in the accident helicopter on the 3 days prior to the accident, and had been "checked out" in the accident helicopter. On the morning of the accident, he departed for his first solo flight.

The pilot flew for about 30 minutes in the airport traffic pattern and performed several takeoffs and landings. On a subsequent takeoff, he watched the engine and rotor rpm gauges as he made adjustments to the cyclic and collective controls. While preparing for a right turn to the crosswind leg of the traffic pattern, he decreased the throttle as he diverted his attention to outside to scan for traffic. When he looked back to the engine rpm, it had dropped below the "green zone" and the rotor rpm was following very quickly. The pilot immediately decreased the collective to the full down position and increased the throttle.

About 400 feet above the ground, and in an autorotation, the pilot selected a field for a forced landing. The pilot stated that he did not perform a landing flare. The helicopter landed hard, bounced, and rolled onto its side.

The pilot reported no mechanical abnormalities with the helicopter and stated that the accident was "a result of pilot error."

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain control of the helicopter during the takeoff and his failure to flare during the autorotation.

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