On October 5, 1998, about 1415 eastern daylight time, an Enstrom F280, N8618N, was destroyed when it struck a tower while on approach to the Audley Divide Heliport (NH10), Bow, New Hampshire. The certificated private pilot sustained minor injures. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot was practicing touch and go landings from NH10, a private heliport he owned.

In a written statement the pilot said:

"...I was headed north-northwest in strong wind conditions, which put me in a crabbed attitude. I was preparing to land at my heliport, when strong winds gusts, apparently pushed [the helicopter] southeast into the top a 330 foot tower, which I never did see, on my blind side."

The helicopter then descended and impacted the ground, where it was consumed by a post crash fire.

A witness stated:

"...I looked up and saw [the helicopter] coming my way. I thought at first it was there by the radio tower to work on the tower. It was very windy and all at once the helicopter went to the left. When this happened the tail section hit the tower, breaking off and staying on the tower. The main fuselage spiraled to the ground...."

Examination of the wreckage by an FAA Inspector did not reveal evidence of any pre-impact abnormalities. The helicopter struck a guyed meteorological equipment tower, which was located about 1/2 miles from the heliport and was painted orange and white.

The weather reported at an airport about 5 miles northeast of the accident site at 1351, was: sky clear; visibility 10 statue miles; winds from 350 degrees at 13 knots, with 20 knot gusts.

The pilot reported about 1,200 hours of total flight experience, of which about 520 hours were in helicopters, all in the accident helicopter make and model.

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