The helicopter pilot was herding cattle when the Robinson R22’s tailrotor hit a mesquite tree branch near Seymour, Texas.
The helicopter began a yaw to the right and a made two full rotations as the pilot maneuvered to open terrain.
He rolled the throttle off, stopped the yaw, and the helicopter landed hard.
The pilot did not report any mechanical anomalies that contributed to the accident. An examination of the helicopter conducted by FAA inspectors also did not find any mechanical anomalies.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from a tree while maneuvering at low altitude.
To download the final report. Click here. This will trigger a PDF download to your device.
This April 2020 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.