On March 27, 2002, about 1255 eastern standard time, a Robinson R-22 helicopter, N961CL, was substantially damaged while landing at the Knox County Airport, Mount Vernon, Ohio. The certificated private pilot was not injured; however, a ground observer received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the instructional flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, he was attempting a landing to a ramp area after a solo flight. A observer was positioned on the ground to observe the landing. When the helicopter touched down it bounced back into the air, and the pilot began to lose directional control. The helicopter touched down a second time, began to spin to the left, and the tailboom struck the ground observer in the head. The helicopter then rolled left, and came to rest on its side.

The pilot additionally recalled that he had applied full power upon the first touchdown on the pavement, "and fell victim to torque and or tail rotor thrust."

The pilot reported about 30 hours of flight experience in helicopters, and was in the process of obtaining his helicopter rating.

The wind reported at a nearby airport, about the time of the accident, were from 260 degrees at 7 knots.

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