On September 9, 1997, at 1330 central daylight time, a Roddie Mini-500, homebuilt helicopter, N42JR, registered to, and operated by the pilot/builder, was destroyed while maneuvering near Idabel Airport, Idabel, Oklahoma. The airline transport rated pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. The flight originated from Idabel Airport at 1300. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
A witness, who was located at the airport, and helped build the helicopter reported that the pilot performed a run-up on the ground before departing. The witness stated that the aircraft was operating approximately 2,000 feet above ground level and about 500 feet from the approach end of runway 35. He then heard the engine slow down and the rotors go into the negative pitch mode. The witness observed the aircraft in a nose low attitude and then heard a loud boom. He said that the helicopter came to a stop and then he saw pieces falling off the helicopter. The main fuselage came to rest on its right side, 1,300 feet from the approach end runway 35. The instrument panel was found 157 feet south of the main fuselage. The tail rotor, including the vertical and horizontal stabilizers, came to rest about 400 feet south of the main fuselage.
A close friend of the pilot, who also assisted in manufacturing the kit helicopter, reported that new rotor blades were installed on the day prior to the accident. He also stated that Mr. Roddie had test flown the aircraft after the installation and Mr. Roddie reported that the helicopter was "flying excellently."
Another airline pilot, who built and flew his own Mini-500, served as the test pilot for Mr. Roddies' helicopter. The test pilot had 75 hours in the Mini-500. He previously performed one autorotation in Mr. Roddies' Mini-500 and reported it did "just fine."
The 62 year old pilot, who was 25,000 hour career airline captain, had about 6 hours of total helicopter flight time.
At the request of the family, an autopsy and toxicology tests were not performed. Family members reported that the pilot was in excellent health.