NTSB Identification: ERA14LA099
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, January 21, 2014 in Pell City, AL
Aircraft: BELL 47D1, registration: N93067
Injuries: 2 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 January 21, 2014, about 1537 central standard time, a Bell 47D-1, N93067, operated by Milam Inc. was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Pell City, Alabama. The commercial pilot and one passenger received minor injuries. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the business flight, operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, which originated at Birmingham- Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM), Birmingham, Alabama about 1330.
According to the pilot, after meeting his passenger at BHM at 1300 they flew to an area just outside of Pell City, Alabama to look at a newly installed alarm system and to take some aerial photographs of the property. After flying around the property and discussing how they could take the photographs, they landed and retrieved a camera from the "chin area" of the helicopter. The pilot then discussed with the passenger how he could fly along the borders of the property so the passenger could take the photographs he desired. They then departed and flew "the plan" they had discussed and then returned to the spot where they had landed before. While descending into the confined area for landing, at 25 to 35 feet above ground level, the pilot heard a "snap/pop" and the engine suddenly began "over-revving." The helicopter began descending, and due to the undulating terrain that was below them the pilot could only extend the flight slightly forward and within approximately 3 seconds, he had used up all of the available rotor speed. The helicopter then touched down hard. The engine was still running but with no rotor motion. The pilot then shutoff the magnetos and the battery switches and then he and passenger exited the helicopter.
Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the helicopter was substantially damaged. Approximately 4 feet of the tail section including the tail rotor had separated from the helicopter during the ground impact. The airframe and skid mounting tubes were bent; the acrylic cockpit bubble was cracked and broken. One blade of the two blade main rotor system displayed impact damage, and was bent downward and was broken about midspan.
According to FAA and maintenance records, the helicopter was manufactured in 1965. The helicopter's most recent annual inspection was completed on June 9, 2013. At the time of accident, the helicopter had accrued approximately 3,980 total hours of operation.
The helicopter was retained for further examination.
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