On July 22, 2000, about 1300 eastern daylight time, an experimental Bell OH-58A, (206A-1), N136C, registered to a private individual, operating as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed on liftoff in the vicinity of Bennettsville, South Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The rotorcraft received substantial damage, the private-rated pilot and one passenger received minor injuries and one passenger was not injured. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot, during his liftoff from a private airstrip, the rotorcraft entered a violent right spin despite application of full left anti-torque control input. The right landing skid struck the ground and the rotorcraft came to rest on its right side. The pilot lists his total flight time in rotorcraft as 47.45 hours. He lists his total flight time in the OH-58A, (206A-1) type rotorcraft as 15.75 hours, all within the last 90 days. He stated the winds prevailing at the time of his liftoff as, 090 degrees at 3 knots, and the weight of occupants aboard to be about 662 lbs. and fuel aboard to be about 480 lbs.

Witnesses stated that the helicopter lifted straight up about 2 to 3 feet and spun sharply to the right two complete revolutions. The gyrations continued until the nose struck the ground, the rotor blades collided with the ground and the tail boom, and the rotorcraft came to rest on its right side.

According to FAA inspectors, examination of the helicopter's data plate showed the model as a Canadian military surplus Bell OH-58A, (Bell 206A), serial no. 44017, customer no. 136217 TC H2SW. Records revealed the helicopter had been recently acquired by the pilot/operator who had been issued a special airworthiness certificate on March 23, 2000 in the experimental category for purposes of exhibition. A copy of the airworthiness certificate and the operating limitations is an attachment to this report.

The inspectors further stated that the helicopter's tail boom was found severed due to main rotor strike, and about 2 feet of one rotor blade was missing. No evidence of precrash mechanical malfunction or material failure could be found in the controls, engine, transmission, clutch, or blades. A weight and balance calculation was completed using the known conditions. The FAA reported, "The calculations indicate that the helicopter was within maximum weight limits and center of gravity envelope".

The computed density altitude for the atmospheric conditions existing at the time of the flight's liftoff was 2,206 feet.

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