CHI05CA156
CHI05CA156

On June 24, 2005, about 1520 eastern daylight time, a Bell 206L-3 helicopter, N311JX, piloted by an airline transport pilot, sustained substantial damage on impact with power lines, a garage, and terrain during an approach to land at a field near Algonac, Michigan. 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 three passengers sustained minor injuries. The flight originated from the Oakland County International Airport, near Pontiac, Michigan, about 1430.

The pilot's accident report, in part, stated:

While proceeding down the river ... [approximately 200 to 300 feet
above ground level] we turned 90 [degrees] to make a downwind
entry for our approach. Last view of airspeed indicator was between
60-50 knots. Our bank of turn was [approximately] 15 [degrees].
After we came out of the turn approximately the area of [buildings],
we experienced a definite loss of tail rotor effectiveness. The
helicopter rotated to the right. I immediately went with forward
cyclic and lowered the collective. After 1-2 turns and losing altitude
I could see this correction would not take hold before hitting the
2 story home right below us. At this point my focus went to avoid
this home and try to get us to the area of the field across the street.
I raised the collective causing further rotation but slowing our descent
rate. While maneuvering the helicopter to the open area we struck
powerlines and fell nearly vertically on the helicopter's forward and
left side on a driveway between a garage and the street.

The pilot did not list any mechanical malfunctions with the helicopter in reference to the flight.

At 1553, the recorded weather at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Airport, near Detroit, Michigan, located about 21 nautical miles and 225 degrees from the accident site, was: Wind 170 degrees at 9 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition few clouds 5,500 feet; temperature 33 degrees C; dew point 19 degrees C; altimeter 29.99 inches of mercury.

The pilot's safety recommendation was, "Loss of tail rotor effectiveness can happen at more than [hover out of ground effect] and very low airspeeds - given the high [temperatures i.e. 95 degrees]."

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