NTSB Identification: ERA11TA317
14 CFR Public Use
Accident occurred Friday, May 27, 2011 in Panama City, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/06/2012
Aircraft: BELL OH-58C, registration: N82772
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

The pilot was hover taxiing the helicopter straight out of an old, temporary hangar, as he had done numerous times. He estimated that the helicopter was about 3 feet above the ground, the last few feet of the tail were still inside the hangar, and he heard a loud bang. He started to lower the collective, but could not control the helicopter, which tipped over on its left side as it impacted the ground. Photographs showed that the main rotor blades had separated from the mast. The vertical tail fin had scrape marks on its top and the upper leading edge had an almost horizontal line several inches below the top. The tail rotor blades, which did not extend above the top of the vertical fin, were pristine. The hangar door overhead frame had three sets of scrape marks, with one angled about 30 degrees to the right and two sets angled about 20 to 25 degrees to the left. Electrical conduit would have normally been secured above the hangar door frame, but was drooped below it, separated and coiled. Remnants of the conduit, and the fact that the main rotor blade tips would have rotated above the vertical tail fin, indicate that the conduit likely had drooped below the hangar frame after the main rotor passage, then snagged the top of the vertical fin. The multiple sets of scrape marks at different angles on the underside of the overhead hangar frame indicate that the helicopter then likely pivoted several times while snagged, as the pilot lost control. No preexisting mechanical malfunctions were noted with the helicopter.

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

The drooping electrical conduit, which snagged the vertical fin and resulted in the pilot's inability to control the helicopter. Contributing to the accident was the operator's decision to have the pilot fly the helicopter out of the hangar.

Full narrative available

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