NTSB Identification: CEN12CA402
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, June 26, 2012 in Grinnell, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/04/2012
Aircraft: SCHWEIZER(HUGHES)AIRCRAFT CORP TH55A/269A, registration: N488MC
Injuries: 2 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.
The helicopter pilot and his passenger were returning to the airport after a local flight. In preparation to land, the pilot approached a grassy area adjacent to the runway and entered a hover into a 12-knot wind that was gusting to 16 knots. The pilot then made a right-pedal turn downwind. He said that during the turn the wind caught the tail and the helicopter began to spin. The pilot could not stop the turning; the tailrotor struck a fence, and the main rotor blades hit the ground. A review of photographs of the helicopter taken after the accident revealed that the tail rotor blades, main rotor blades, and fuselage were substantially damaged. The pilot reported no preaccident mechanical malfunctions with the helicopter.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot’s inadequate compensation for the wind during a hovering maneuver, which resulted in a loss of tail rotor effectiveness and directional control. Full narrative available
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