On July 18, 2002, approximately 0716 Central daylight time, a Bell TH-13T helicopter, N99628, sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain following a complete loss of engine power while maneuvering near New Iberia, Louisiana. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Gentry Flying Service, Selma, Alabama. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the helicopter, was not injured. The 14 CFR Part 137 aerial application flight departed a private airstrip at 0706, and no flight plan was filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In a telephone interview and in a written statement supplied to the NTSB investigator-in-charge, the pilot reported that at 0715 he noticed 15 gallons of fuel remaining. The pilot stated that he had just finished spraying his load and was returning to the loading facility when the helicopter experienced a complete loss of engine power. He then initiated an autorotation at 50 miles per hour over a sugar cane field. Prior to contacting the high vegetation, the pilot reported that he flared by adding full aft cyclic and up collective, which resulted in the main rotor blades striking the tail boom and sheering it off. Subsequently, the tail rotor separated and was found approximately 60 feet forward of where the helicopter came to rest in an upright position. The pilot reported that all cross tubes had been "yanked out," and the cabin was twisted to the left. Both the cyclic and collective were completely jammed, and the tail boom had been sheered off where it attaches to the center section. Two drag brace bolts, which hold the main rotor blades in place, were also sheered off. There was no post-impact fire.
The aircraft was moved from the accident site to the facilities at Coastal Helicopters, Panama City, Florida A certified airframe and powerplant mechanic who examined the engine reported no anomalies were detected which would have prevented normal operation.