Attempted An Air Restart, But Was Unsuccessful

Location: Spanish Fork, UT Accident Number: WPR21LA086
Date & Time: January 13, 2021, 13:50 Local Registration: N7480F
Aircraft: Hughes 269C Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Instructional

On January 13, 2021, about 1350 mountain standard time, a Hughes 269C helicopter, N7480F, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Spanish Fork, Utah. The instructor and pilot receiving instruction were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

According to the flight instructor, they performed an uneventful preflight inspection, started the helicopter and transitioned into a hover. The pilot receiving instruction reported that during the engine run-up, which was performed at 2,500 rpm, they reduced engine power to idle and observed normal rotor and rpm separation. The instructor stated that after departure they entered the airport traffic pattern where they performed several landings and three autorotative maneuvers at the airport. They subsequently departed the airport traffic pattern and flew to a nearby practice area west of the airport.

After performing two recoveries from settling with power, they elected to return to the airport. During cruise flight at 6,500 ft mean sea level, 1,500 ft above ground level (agl), the instructor decided to practice a simulated engine failure and decreased power to idle as he announced to the pilot receiving instruction that they had lost power. The pilot receiving instruction lowered the collective to enter an autorotative maneuver and selected a landing site when prompted by his instructor. As the helicopter descended to 500 ft agl, the instructor advised the pilot receiving instruction to recover, but was unsuccessful in his attempts to restore power. The instructor immediately took control of the helicopter and attempted an air restart, but was unsuccessful. He flared the helicopter as it passed below 30 ft agl to reduce airspeed and the helicopter’s rate of descent. The instructor then raised the collective to arrest their descent further before impact, but the helicopter had about 7 mph of forward movement as it contacted the soft ground. The helicopter nosed over and the main rotor blades contacted the tailboom, which separated from the helicopter. The front right skid tube broke and the helicopter rolled onto its right side before it came to rest.

The helicopter was retained for further examination.