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N115SH accident description

Nevada map... Nevada list
Crash location 36.074723°N, 115.151389°W
Nearest city Las Vegas, NV
36.174971°N, 115.137223°W
7.0 miles away
Tail number N115SH
Accident date 22 Jul 2013
Aircraft type Eurocopter As 350 B2
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On July 22, 2013, about 0715 Pacific daylight time, a Eurocopter AS 350 B2 helicopter, N115SH, sustained substantial damage, when its tail rotor struck the ground, at the McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada. The helicopter was being operated by Sundance Helicopters as a visual flight rules (VFR) local instructional flight, under the provisions of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The flight instructor and pilot-rated student were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and company flight-following procedures were in effect.

According to written statements provided to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by both the instructor and pilot-rated student, dated July 22, the purpose of the flight was to transition the student to the accident helicopter which is flown from the left seat position as opposed to the standard right seat position. The accident helicopter did not have dual controls and the instructor was seated in a rear seat, observing over the student's shoulder.

According to the instructor, the initial pickup to a hover was over controlled, and the helicopter moved fore and aft with a slight yaw. In the hover, the helicopter continued to move fore and aft and the yaw increased. He reported he felt the helicopter was bouncing from skid to skid and fore and aft.

According to the pilot-rated student, as she picked the helicopter up to a hover, the nose yawed to the left, which she countered with right pedal. She reported that the helicopter started to "jump," and she lowered the collective to put the helicopter on the ground. The jumping worsened and the instructor told her to pick the helicopter up, which she did. She said the helicopter was uncontrollable and it hit the ground. She put the helicopter back on the ground, and shut it down.

An examination by an FAA inspector, and photographs provided to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) showed substantial damage to the helicopter's ventral fin, and tailrotor drive system.

No preimpact mechanical malfunctions of failures were reported with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot receiving instruction's failure to maintain control of the helicopter in a hover, which resulted in a tail rotor ground strike.

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