On March 26, 2003, at 1400 eastern daylight time, a Bell 47G, N17114, was substantially damaged during landing at Jake Arner Memorial Airport (22N), Lehighton, Pennsylvania. The non-certificated pilot/owner was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the instructional flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

On April 2, 2003, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) received an anonymous letter, advising of an accident. It stated that the student pilot/owner was performing an autorotation when it "lost control and crashed hard."

The student pilot/owner did not report the accident, and moved the wreckage to a hangar.

On April 23, 2003, an FAA inspector performed an examination of the helicopter. According to the inspector, the tail rotor gearbox was separated from the tail boom, the landing skids were spread, the cabin Plexiglas was broken, and the main rotor was destroyed.

The student pilot/owner of the helicopter was repeatedly contacted by the FAA, but was uncooperative and provided no further information regarding the helicopter or the accident. However, he did submit a written report to the NTSB. According to the report, the student pilot/owner said, "Sitting on runway. Skid broke."

The student pilot/owner also reported that a main rotor blade had struck the tail boom.

The student pilot's flight instructor was interviewed by an FAA inspector. According to the instructor, the student pilot flew the helicopter prior to a flight lesson and made a hard landing. Then the student pilot wanted to practice autorotations during the flight lesson, but the instructor did not feel it would be safe since one of the skids may have been weakened from the hard landing, and refused to fly.

The student pilot then decided to fly on his own, and practiced several running takeoffs and landings, during which time, one of the skids completely broke. The student pilot then decided to move the helicopter to a hangar using a backhoe and chains. While moving the helicopter, he dropped it, and also struck the tail boom with the backhoe.

The student pilot/owner reported the weather at the time of the accident as visibility 5 miles, winds from the north at 5 knots, a broken cloud layer at 2,500 feet, temperature 50 degrees F, and dewpoint 45 degrees F.

According to Section 830.5 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR), "The operator of any civil aircraft...shall immediately, and by the most expeditious means available, notify the nearest National Transportation Safety Board field office when an aircraft accident occurs."

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