ATL99LA036
ATL99LA036

On December 30, 1998, about 1500 central standard time, a Bell 47G-3B-2 helicopter, N123NM, collided with the ground during a landing on runway 36 at the Murfreesboro Municipal Airport (MBT), Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The helicopter was operated by Photo Data Services LLC, under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. A flight plan was not filed for the local aerial survey flight. There were no injuries to the commercial helicopter pilot nor the photographer. The helicopter was substantially damaged. The flight had originated from the Murfreesboro Airport about 1400, on the same day.

The pilot had completed a local photographic flight, and was returning to the airport to refuel. While on short final to land, about five feet above the ground, the pilot's flight chart slipped off his right leg, and he was momentarily distracted while looking down to retrieve the chart. The pilot reported that the helicopter struck the ground in a level attitude on the skids. The passenger described the touchdown as "abnormally hard". The pilot said when he went to reposition the helicopter for refueling, he had no tail rotor pedal control. He then proceeded to shut the helicopter down.

An examination of the helicopter disclosed that the tail boom assembly had been severed, and there was damage to the trailing edge of one of the main rotor blades. No mechanical problems with the helicopter were reported by the pilot.

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