December 9, 2006, Bountiful, Utah / Robinson R-22


The helicopter was substantially damaged when it rolled over onto its side during an off-airport precautionary landing at approximately 1130 Mountain time. The Commercial pilot and his passenger received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, he was taking his father-in-law on a local sightseeing flight and, while looking around the local area, flew up a canyon. As he neared the crest of the ridge at the east end of the canyon, he encountered windy conditions and significant downdrafts. Upon entering a strong downdraft, the helicopter began to sink rapidly, and as the pilot increased power and collective, the main rotor rpm began to slow. Although the pilot was able to fly out of the downdraft, he was then at a lower altitude, so he decided to turn around and fly back out of the canyon.

Soon after turning back down the canyon, the aircraft entered another strong downdraft, and once again it sank toward the terrain, its main rotor rpm decreasing significantly. After aiming for a steeply sloped open area and touching down, the helicopter rolled over onto its side.


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