NTSB Identification: FTW02LA200.
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Accident occurred Saturday, June 29, 2002 in Gulf of Mexico, GM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2003
Aircraft: Bell 206L3, registration: N255EV
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

After landing on the offshore platform, the pilot positioned the helicopter into the prevailing headwind and initiated engine shutdown procedures. The pilot reported that the wind at this time was from the southeast at 15 to 20 knots, and the rain remained about 2 miles southeast of the platform. The pilot further stated that within seconds after shutting down the engine "the wind picked up to 50-60 knots, while the rain was still about 1-2 miles away." The pilot added that he applied the rotor brake after the rotor had slowed to 35-40 percent; however, the rotor brake did not appeared to have any effect in slowing down the rotor system. As the rotor system was buffeted by strong wind, the rotor system became unbalanced and eventually struck the tail boom approximately 2 feet forward of the tail rotor gear box.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain proper rotor RPM during engine shutdown due to high wind conditions, which resulted in the main rotor blades contacting the tailboom. A contributing factor was the gusty wind conditions.

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