On August 23, 1999, at 1140 central daylight time, a Hughes 269B helicopter, N44KH, was substantially damaged during a practice autorotational landing at the Russellville Regional Airport, Russellville, Arkansas. The helicopter was owned and operated by Metco Helicopters, Inc., of Springdale, Arkansas. The flight instructor was not injured and his pilot rated passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 local personal flight.

The flight instructor reported to the FAA inspector that he was practicing an autorotation, terminating with power, to the sod area between the taxiway and runway, near the eastern end of the runway. The flight instructor stated that the engine lost power after he initiated the autorotation by lowering the collective and reducing the throttle to idle. The helicopter touched down "hard" in a nose high attitude. The main rotor blades contacted the tailboom severing it about 24 inches forward of the tail rotor gearbox. The helicopter rotated about 160 degrees to the left and came to a stop upright.

According to the FAA inspector, the main rotor blades were removed, and an engine run was completed with no duplication of power loss.

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