On August 3, 2002, about 1700 eastern daylight time, a Robinson R-44, N44EK, was substantially damaged while landing at the Steel Pier Heliport (92N), Atlantic City, New Jersey. The certificated commercial pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the commercial sightseeing flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot stated that he was completing a 3-minute sightseeing flight. During his final approach to the heliport, the wind shifted, which resulted in a higher than normal sink rate. Additionally, a higher than anticipated ground speed caused the pilot to flare "harder." Subsequently, the tail rotor struck the heliport perimeter fence, and the helicopter began to spin. However, the pilot was able to land the helicopter uneventfully at the heliport. The pilot added that prior to the collision, he did not experience any mechanical malfunctions with the helicopter.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the tail rotor and gearbox had separated from the helicopter.

The reported winds at an airport approximately 10 miles west of the accident site, at 1654, were from 130 degrees at 8 knots, with no gusts.

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