Accident Robinson R44 Cadet N811S,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 305781
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Date:Tuesday 10 January 2023
Time:13:40 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Robinson R44 Cadet
Owner/operator:Smith Helicopters Inc
Registration: N811S
MSN: 30072
Year of manufacture:2020
Total airframe hrs:691 hours
Engine model:Lycoming 0540F-1B5
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Fowlerton, Texas -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Cotulla, TX (KPRI)
Destination airport:Cotulla, TX (KPRI)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The pilot reported that the flight's purpose was to guide cattle while at low altitude. During a turn with trees in the vicinity, the pilot heard a noise and felt a bump in the flight controls. The helicopter began to spin uncontrollably and impacted terrain, which resulted in substantial damage to the main rotor system, tail rotor system, fuselage, and tail boom.
Examination revealed that the tail rotor gear box and tail rotor (TR) blades were separated from the helicopter. The gear box housing fracture surfaces were consistent with overload. The size/shape of the dents and tree debris lodged in the leading edge of the TR blades was consistent with the size/shape of the tree branches that were broken.
The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause: The pilot's failure to maintain clearance with trees, which resulted in an uncontrollable spin due to tail rotor damage.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: CEN23LA086
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


FAA register:


Revision history:

26-Jul-2023 10:59 Nepa Updated

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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