NTSB Identification: ERA09CA542
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 26, 2009 in Quarryville, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/03/2010
Aircraft: SCHWEIZER 269C, registration: N233JA
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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.

The pilot had agreed to use his helicopter to participate in a publicity event at a golf course. The event consisted of landing in a designated area to pick up a load of golf balls, then dropping the golf balls from the hovering helicopter. Several days before the event, the pilot visited the golf course to survey the landing area. He was not advised to expect a marshaler. On the day of the accident, the helicopter approached the golf course, and entered a hover above the putting green that the pilot planned to land on. Several witnesses reported that a person on the ground began providing hand signals to direct the pilot. In response to the signals, the pilot began to back up the helicopter, and one of the landing skids contacted a wooden statue. The pilot was unable to regain control of the helicopter before it rolled onto its left side and struck the ground. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the cabin area, skids and tail boom, and the tail rotor was separated. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies with the helicopter prior to the accident. Subsequent to the accident, it was determined that the marshaler was self-appointed, and that he did not have any formal training in marshaling aircraft. The nearest weather reporting station, located approximately 17 nautical miles north of the accident site, reported winds of 9 knots about the time of the accident.

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

An untrained bystander's attempt to marshal the helicopter, which resulted in the helicopter's inadvertent encounter with an object.

Full narrative available

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