NTSB Identification: CEN09CA127
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Monday, January 12, 2009 in Vermillion 229, GM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/23/2009
Aircraft: EUROCOPTER AS350, registration: N193EH
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the pilot, he was departing the heliport at the oil rig platform and had brought the helicopter into a low hover. While in the hover, the tail rotor struck a two-foot vertical lightning rod attached to the platform edge causing damage to the tail rotor blades and horizontal stabilizer, wrinkling the tail boom, and displacing the tail rotor gear box. The pilot reported no mechanical anomalies with the helicopter prior to impact. The pilot stated that he had observed the lightning rod placement during previous landings on the platform as well as during the current operation.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from a known obstruction. Contributing to the accident was the location/placement of lightning rods in the landing zone.

Full narrative available

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