FTW03LA018
FTW03LA018

On October 19, 2002, at 1420 central daylight time, a Carriere RW-152 Scorpion II homebuilt helicopter, N838MC, was substantially damaged upon impact with terrain following a loss of control while landing near Opelousas, Louisiana. The student pilot, sole occupant of the aircraft, was not injured. The aircraft was owned and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight for which a flight plan was not filed. The local flight departed from a private field at 1330.

The pilot reported that some work had been performed on the main rotor head at the factory. The pilot installed new elastomeric bearing blocks and re-installed the rotor blades. The pilot ran the helicopter to smooth-out the rotor system prior to taking the helicopter on a flight to verity the balance and tracking of the main rotor system after all lead/lag adjustments were made.

The pilot hovered the helicopter over the fence into a nearby field where he hovered and flew (at 10 feet or below) across the field for about 30 minutes. The pilot reported that the selected field was surrounded by tall trees, and he failed to notice the approaching inclement weather.

The pilot elected to terminate his flight and return to the private field for a full-stop landing. The pilot climbed the helicopter to about 30 feet above the ground in order to clear some trees when a "gust of wind blew from the passenger side and made the helicopter start to spin to the right." The helicopter spun approximately 20 times to the right, the rotor blades contacted the ground, and the helicopter came to rest on its right side.

The student pilot had accumulated 90.2 hours in the accident helicopter.

Examination of the helicopter by the pilot revealed that both main rotor blades were structurally damaged, the main drive transmission drive shaft was bent, the cabin was distorted and fractured, and the tailboom was bent. The left main landing gear skid was found collapsed.

The pilot estimated the wind was from 180 degrees at 35 knots, at the time of the accident.

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