On January 19, 2005, approximately 0900 central standard time, a Bell 206B helicopter, N8040T, was substantially damaged during a hard landing during a practice autorotation near Pinehurst, Texas. The flight instructor and the private pilot, who was receiving instruction, were not injured. The helicopter was owned by Odengene Air Shuttle, Inc. of Sugarland, Texas, and operated by Helicopter Services, Inc. of Spring, Texas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the training flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The local flight departed David Wayne Hooks airport (DWH), near Houston, Texas, at 0800. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to a written statement submitted by the 3,000-hour flight instructor, the private pilot hadn't flown for over a year and proficiency flight training maneuvers were to be conducted. The flight training maneuvers were flown over the private pilot's property. Various training maneuvers were conducted, including pick-up and set-down practice, basic navigation procedures, normal departures and approaches, steep approaches to a hover, quick stops, and steep approaches to the ground. An autorotation was performed without incident.
A second autorotation was initiated at 1,000 feet above ground level (AGL); at 300 feet AGL, the instructor started to roll power on, and the engine did not respond immediately. The flight instructor stated that the engine "started to make power" and the rate of decent was arrested in the flare; however, the low RPM horn sounded and he elected to take the helicopter to the ground. During the hard landing, the main rotor blade contacted the tail boom.
The flight instructor further reported that the helicopter sustained structural damage during the hard landing when a main rotor blade severed the tail boom, just aft of the horizontal "fin".
At 0853, the automated weather observing system at DWH reported wind from 120 degrees at 4 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, sky 4,800 scattered, 8,500 broken, temperature 45 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 37 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.42 inches of Mercury.