On July 30, 2004, about 1900 central daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Tjerrild Rotorway Exec helicopter, operated by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage on impact with terrain and crops during a forced landing, following an in-flight loss of engine power near Eureka, Illinois. The personal flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No Flight plan was on file. The pilot and passenger were uninjured. The local flight originated near Eureka, Illinois, and was in cruise flight at the time of the loss of engine power.

The pilot stated:

Took off from Eureka College ball field toward the South. Executed
climbing left hand turn around to a heading of [approximately] 360
[degrees] and up to 1000 MSL [feet above mean sea level].
Established level cruise at 1000 MSL and 70 mph. Engine stopped
without warning. Executed an auto rotate into corn field below. As
main rotors entered corn the aircraft yawed left and stopped partially
tipped over on left side. No injuries. Accident site [approximately] 1
mile from take-off point.

A Federal Aviation Administration Inspector performed an inspection of the wreckage. The high-tension wire from the ignition coil was found detached.

Rotorway International issued a service bulletin dated May 15, 1992 on the helicopter's ignition system. That service bulletin stated:



History: Electronic Ignition Systems have proven to be more
reliable and easier to maintain than conventional distributor

Action: For Exec helicopters, RotorWay International recommends
ONLY the Dual electronic Ignition system as equipped on our R.I.
162 engines. This system features two completely independent
ignition systems, including two spark plugs per cylinder, designed
to operate simultaneously. Either ignition system will support
full power performance. We recommend only this ignition system
and will no longer sell or support distributor ignitions. The dual
electronic ignition system may be fitted to any Exec with the RW 145
or RW 152 engine, and is strongly recommended. If you have
purchased a rebuilt distributor from RotorWay International, the
conversion to the dual electronic ignition system is regarded as

The accident helicopter was not modified with that service bulletin.

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