CHI05CA005
CHI05CA005

On October 9, 2004, about 0822 central daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Buss Rotorway Exec helicopter, N82DR, operated by a commercial pilot, sustained substantial damage on impact with terrain during an autorotation following an in-flight loss of engine power while on its base leg to runway 28L at Flying Cloud Airport (FCM), near Eden Prairie, Minnesota. 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 reported no injuries. The local flight originated from FCM.

The pilot stated in his accident report:

I launched at 08:15 from General Aviation Services at
Flying Cloud Airport, Eden Prairie, MN. I was given
clearance to runway 28L. Upon take off clearance I
commenced flying left pattern. I was given clearance
for the option and on the base leg I reached for, and
pulled, the carburetor heat lever. After releasing
the lever, I inadvertently bumped and threw the main
battery switch. I felt the switch move. (These
switches are located on the top of the center console,
and they are hidden from view by the pilot's right leg
due to cramped quarters). I then tried to find and
reengage the switch and I threw the avionics switch. I
immediately re-engaged the avionics switch. While
searching for the battery switch, the engine stopped.
(The switch had shut off the fuel pumps, enabling the
engine to continue running for a few seconds) I
immediately lowered the collective and went into
auto-rotation. I picked my spot to land and auto-rotated
to that spot, and then initiated my cyclic flare. Just
before touchdown I leveled the machine and pulled in all
of the collective. I landed level, fairly softly, but
with forward ground speed, in a soybean field diagonal to
the rows. Calm winds were not a factor. Due to forward
groundspeed, the helicopter slid forward and tipped
forward. The rotor blades struck the ground in the front
of the ship, which created torque forces, which tipped the
machine onto its left side. The tower contacted me and
confirmed that I was uninjured. I unbuckled my harness,
shut off the fuel and all switches. I climbed out the
passenger door.

The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions in reference to the helicopter on the flight.

The pilot's safety recommendation was that the "battery switch should be relocated or [guarded]."

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