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N4359N accident description

West Virginia map... West Virginia list
Crash location 39.091389°N, 80.469445°W
Nearest city Weston, WV
39.038427°N, 80.467313°W
3.7 miles away
Tail number N4359N
Accident date 04 Jul 2005
Aircraft type Callahan Rotorway Exec 90
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On July 4, 2005, at 1145 eastern daylight time, an amateur built Rotorway Exec 90, N4359N, was destroyed during a hard landing and subsequent post-crash fire, following a practice autorotation to Louis Bennett Field (49I), Weston, West Virginia. The certificated student pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 local personal flight, which originated from the pilot's home in Horner, West Virginia.

The pilot intended to perform a practice autorotation beginning 800 feet above ground level (agl), and terminating "well above the surface." About 100 feet agl, the pilot began to flare the helicopter, continuing into a steep flare at 75 feet agl. When the helicopter's forward speed had reduced to almost zero, the pilot leveled its pitch attitude, and applied full throttle and right anti-torque pedal. The helicopter turned to the right, and due to a perceived lack of torque, the pilot believed that the engine had ceased producing power. He applied left anti-torque pedal to straighten the helicopter, and decreased the collective pitch in order to increase rotor rpm. He then increased the collective pitch to cushion the landing, but the helicopter impacted the ground hard and the skids collapsed outward. The helicopter then pivoted about 180 degrees to the right and slid about 8 feet. A post crash fire ensued and consumed nearly the entire helicopter.

When asked, the pilot could not recall any engine or rotor instrument indications during the autorotation, and could not recall if the engine was running when the helicopter impacted the ground.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) examination of the wreckage revealed no anomalies with the engine or the airframe.

The weather reported at Upshur County Regional Airport (W22), Buckhannon, West Virginia, about 11 nautical miles southeast, at 1120, included winds from 210 degrees at 4 knots, clear skies, temperature 81 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 66 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.15 inches of mercury.

NTSB Probable Cause

A loss of engine power for undetermined reasons during an attempted power recovery. A factor in the accident was the pilot's failure to maintain rotor rpm, which resulted in a hard landing and subsequent post crash fire.

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