On September 9, 1997, at 1535 hours Pacific daylight time, a Bell 206B, N90115, experienced a hard landing and substantial damage on a parking area pad at the Minden, Nevada, airport. Upon ground impact, a main rotor blade separated and struck a parked and unoccupied Cessna 182, causing substantial damage. There were minor injuries to the pilot and one of the passengers. The other two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions existed at the time and no flight plan was on file. The personal flight was terminating at the time.

FAA inspectors from the Reno Flight Standards District Office responded to the airport, interviewed the pilot, and inspected the aircraft. At the time of the accident, the winds were 190 to 250 degrees at 15 knots, gusting to 23 knots. As the pilot continued his approach to the landing pad in a northeasterly direction, the helicopter yawed to the right and the pilot applied full left pedal and pulled collective. The pilot later told the inspectors that the engine was running fine, and he had experienced "no unusual noise," and that he had "run out of tail rotor."

A review of a relative wind chart provided by Bell Helicopter Textron shows that the helicopter's heading during the approach to the pad placed it in an area of the chart where unanticipated right yaw might occur. The chart is appended to this report.

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