LAX98LA197
LAX98LA197

On June 14, 1998, at 1530 hours Pacific daylight time, a Bell 47G-4A, N110DT, experienced a hard landing at the Shafter-Minter Aiport in Shafter, California. The aircraft sustained substantial damage and the commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 137 agricultural operation.

The pilot reported that he made a normal takeoff to the northwest and climbed to approximately 300 feet agl. He then made a 180-degree turn back toward the landing area and initiated a "steeper than normal" approach to land. The helicopter began to settle with power, and the pilot reported that he was at too low an altitude to recover. The helicopter impacted the ground approximately 500 feet west of the intended landing zone and the main rotor blades severed the tail boom.

The pilot reported that he had not experienced any mechanical malfunction with the helicopter prior to the accident, but stated that he should have made a shallower approach. The winds were from a direction of 280 degrees at a velocity of 9 knots. The approach was made to an approximate direction of 120 degrees.

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