ATL97LA103
ATL97LA103

On July 13, 1997, at 1515 eastern daylight time, a Hughes, HU-269-C, N7413F, owned by South Carolina Helicopters, Inc., collided with the ground during an attempted landing onto personal property in Johnston, South Carolina. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, with no flight plan filed. The private pilot and passenger were not injured, and the helicopter sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight departed Saluda County Airport (6J4), Saluda, South Carolina at 1230.

According to the pilot, he departed 6J4 for a local flight with his father. He stated that they decided to fly over his sister's property. He stated that his father requested to land in his sister's property. He planned the approach to hover and then depart. After circling the area several times, he set up for a steep approach. He stated that he was concerned with "settling with power." He stated that the beginning of the approach was going fine. At about 10 feet above the trees, he added collective to slow the descent. Subsequently, "the cabin yawed to the right." He stated that his initial thought was that he was settling with power. He immediately "launched a little collective and tried to fly out of settling with power." The helicopter started to spin and loose altitude. He stated that in "trying to regain control, he ran out of collective and throttle." The helicopter impacted the ground and rolled to the right.

According to the FAA, the pilot stated that he was conducting an approach into his sister's property, and at about 40 feet above the ground, he slowed the descent. The helicopter yawed 90 degrees to the right. The FAA reported that the pilot stated he "thought he was getting into settling with power and he lowered the nose to fly out of it." The helicopter continued to turn right, and subsequently collided with the ground and rolled on its side. No mechanical malfunction was reported by the pilot.

Initial examination of the wreckage classified the damage as minor. After further examination, the damage was upgraded to substantial. Examination of the wreckage revealed damage to the main rotor blades, impact damage to both skids, with one separated from the airframe, the lower tubular frame bent, and the right door cabin frame buckled. According to the FAA, the maintenance records indicated that all inspections had been complied with and the Airworthiness Directive (AD) status was correct.

The pilot stated that from conversations with his instructor, he learned that his rotor RPM became too low and he did not make corrections in time to stop the rotation. The pilot obtained his Rotorcraft Helicopter rating on July 12, 1997, the day prior to the accident. He has 52 hours of flight time in this aircraft.

Aircraft inspection information was not included in the 6120.1/2. Several attempts have been made to contact the owner, however, they have been unsuccessful.

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