On September 27, 2001, about 1720 eastern daylight time, a Bell OH-58A, N923MC, registered to Vista-Dome Simulation Corporation, crashed during landing near Sevierville, Tennessee, while on a 14 CFR 91 aerial filming flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The helicopter received substantial damage and the commercial-rated pilot and one passenger were not injured. The flight originated from Sevierville, Tennessee, the same day, about 1645.

The pilot stated that he was flying the helicopter from the right front seat and his passenger was in the left front seat. As he approached his landing zone, while about 3 feet agl, the helicopter veered to the left. He corrected using right cyclic and by lowering the collective. The helicopter touched down hard causing a tailrotor strike and the main rotor to strike the tail boom.

Postcrash examination of the helicopter at the crash site by an FAA Inspector, and after recovery from the crash site by an FAA Inspector and a representative of Bell Helicopter confirmed that continuity of flight control components existed at the time of impact, and that there was freedom of movement throughout the flight control systems after recovery. The examination confirmed that there was a high rate of rotation of the drive train components at the time of impact. There were no preimpact airframe anomalies identified. Cyclic controls were installed in both the left and right front seat positions. (See Bell Helicopter report, an attachment to this report)

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