On November 27, 1997, approximately 1430 eastern standard time, a Jones Mini 500, N8015E, sustained substantial damage when the experimental helicopter impacted the ground while maneuvering at Mercer County Airport, Bluefield, West Virginia. The certificated commercial pilot/builder received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan was filed for the local flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot reported that the purpose of the flight was to "balance and adjust the flight controls." While air taxiing, the pilot took off down wind and climbed to 50 feet agl. The pilot stated that "after passing through transitional lift, the rotor began to over speed, so I reduced the throttle to maintain the rotor in the mid green." The pilot reported that he continued and as he approached the end of the runway, "I slowed the helicopter down and started a left turn with the intention of flying down runway to check the head balance." The pilot stated that, "as I started the turn I increased the throttle to the maximum, however, the rotor rpm had deteriorated and the throttle would not bring it back up." The pilot reported that he did not have sufficient altitude to unload the rotor and upon ground impact, the helicopter's left skid collapsed, rolling the helicopter onto its side damaging the main rotor, tail boom, tail rotor, and the cockpit.

The pilot reported to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector that he had thousands of hours in turbine powered helicopters, and approximately 10 hours in reciprocating engine powered helicopters. The FAA Inspector examined the wreckage. The examination confirmed flight control continuity and no mechanical malfunction was found in the engine.

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