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What Not To Do In A R44.

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NTSB Identification: CHI04LA212.

The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation

Accident occurred Thursday, August 05, 2004 in Chesterfield, MO

Probable Cause Approval Date: 7/7/2005

Aircraft: Robinson R44, registration: N7036J

Injuries: 1 Minor, 3 Uninjured.


The helicopter was substantially damaged when the main rotor contacted an open hangar door during takeoff and the helicopter subsequently impacted the ground. The pilot stated that the helicopter was parked on the ramp approximately 35 feet from the hangar. The bi-fold hangar door was open and extended about 10 feet out over the ramp. He stated that after takeoff, as the aircraft began to move away from the hangar, the passenger in the left front seat "accidentally and inadvertently hit or bumped the counterweight portion of the cyclic." The helicopter drifted toward the open hangar door and before he could correct the drift the main rotor clipped the bottom edge of the door. He recalled: "I quickly maneuvered away from the hangar building and began to level the aircraft." The helicopter descended to the ramp. The subsequent hard landing caused the skids to collapse and the main rotor to sever the tail boom. A ground witness to the accident submitted a video recording of the accident flight. Review of the recording revealed that after the helicopter lifted-off, it paused in a hover for a few seconds and then began to climb out, subsequently contacting the door. No drift toward the hangar building was observed prior to rotor blade contact with the door.



The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:


The pilot's inadequate preflight planning due to his selection of an unsuitable takeoff area and his failure to maintain clearance from the open hangar door. A contributing factor was the open hangar door.

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