NTSB Identification: WPR13LA178
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 02, 2013 in Darby, MT
Aircraft: MD HELICOPTER 369A, registration: N369HW
Injuries: 1 Serious,3 Minor.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On April 2, 2013, about 1100 mountain daylight time, a McDonnell Douglas MD369A helicopter, N369HW, was substantially damaged during a hard landing on private property in Darby, Montana. The owner-pilot received serious injuries, and his three passengers received minor injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no FAA flight plan was filed for the flight.

According to the pilot, he departed from his ranch/airstrip with his son-in-law and two grandchildren, and they flew about 1/2 hour on a local sightseeing flight. Near the end of the flight, during the approach for landing, when the helicopter was about 200 to 300 feet above ground level (agl), the pilot added some power, and the engine responded normally. Shortly thereafter, he conducted his "60-60" check, which assured that the helicopter was at 60 mph at 60 feet agl. He then slowed to a hover/descent, with the engine running at a speed above idle. At an altitude of about 10 feet agl, the pilot increased the throttle setting, but the engine did not respond. He realized that they would then land hard, so he added collective to slow the descent. The helicopter impacted the ground; the tail rotor, tail boom, and all main rotor blades separated from the helicopter. One skid partially collapsed, but the helicopter remained upright. There was no fire, and all four occupants exited the helicopter.

The pilot held multiple ratings and certificates, including airline transport pilot and rotorcraft helicopter. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued in May 2012.

FAA information indicated that the helicopter was manufactured in 1970, and was equipped with an Allison (Rolls-Royce) 250-C20 series turbine engine. The wreckage was retained for detailed examination.

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