On September 17, 1998, at 0915 central daylight time, a Bell 47-G-2 helicopter, N1575, was substantially damaged following a loss of control while hovering at the Ardmore Downtown Executive Airport near Ardmore, Oklahoma. The solo student pilot was not injured. The helicopter was owned and operated by Versatile Helicopters Inc., of Ardmore, Oklahoma. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 CFR Part 91 local training flight which originated at 0825.

During an interview conducted by the FAA inspector, the operator of the helicopter said that during a takeoff to hover, the heals of the skids "sunk into the sod and brought the aircraft back, striking the tail rotor blades on the ground." The operator added that "one of the tail rotor blades departed the hub." The pilot stated that after the tail rotor hit, the helicopter "raised off the ground and started spinning to the right." The student pilot added that he, "attempted to level the helicopter by lowering the collective to bring the helicopter to the ground." The helicopter "hit the ground with the left skid and rolled over on to its left side." Winds at the time of the accident were reported to be calm.

Examination of the aircraft by the FAA inspector revealed that the tailboom was destroyed, the cabin sustained structural damage and both main rotor blades were damaged.

The student pilot had accumulated approximately 41 hours in the helicopter and was on his seventh solo flight at the time of the accident.

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