Accident Robinson R44 Astro N999EV, Wednesday 2 February 2000
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Date:Wednesday 2 February 2000
Time:14:37
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Robinson R44 Astro
Owner/operator:Gary M. Lampert
Registration: N999EV
MSN: 0667
Year of manufacture:1999
Total airframe hrs:94 hours
Engine model:Lycoming 0540-F105
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Category:Accident
Location:Palo Alto, California -   United States of America
Phase: Approach
Nature:Training
Departure airport:San Carlos Airport, San Carlos, California (SQL/KSQL)
Destination airport:Palo Alto Airport, Palo Alto, California (PAO/KPAO)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
Narrative:
On February 2, 2000, at 14:37 hours PST (Pacific Standard Time), a Robinson R44, helicopter, N999EV, was substantially damaged during a practice autorotation at Palo Alto, California. Neither the commercial rated pilot nor the passenger was injured. The personal flight was operated by the pilot under 14 CFR Part 91. No flight plan was filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the operation that originated at San Carlos, California, at 14:27 PST.

The pilot reported that during the autorotation the engine had been at idle for an extended period. He said he did not think he was going to make the runway so he added power. The engine failed to respond and the tail stinger contacted the ground, resulting in the separation of the tail boom. The pilot pulled collective pitch; the helicopter briefly became airborne and spun violently to the right. The pilot maintained the helicopter in a level attitude and the landed hard. After the main rotor stopped rotating, the pilot and passenger exited the helicopter.

The pilot told the Federal Aviation Administration inspector on scene that he did not use carburettor heat during the autorotation. According to the Palo Alto METAR, the temperature was 64 degrees Fahrenheit and the dew point was 52 degrees Fahrenheit. Reference to a carburetor icing probability chart revealed that this temperature and dew point were in an area of the graph annotated "moderate icing-cruise power or serious icing-glide power."

Probable Cause: The pilot's failure to use carburettor heat, resulting in a loss of engine power, and, his misjudged autorotation approach that resulted in a collision with the ground during the landing flare. Contributing to the accident was the conditions conducive to carburettor icing.

Accident investigation:
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Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: LAX00LA086
Status: Investigation completed
Duration:
Download report: Final report

Sources:

1. NTSB: https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief.aspx?ev_id=20001212X20509&key=1
2. FAA register: http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?omni=Home-N-Number&nNumberTxt=999EV
3. http://www.planetrace.co.uk/2000-2009_33.html

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
17-Dec-2011 22:56 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
19-Aug-2016 18:48 Dr.John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
12-Dec-2017 18:25 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
12-Oct-2018 16:06 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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