On August 23, 2005, about 1440 central daylight time, a single-engine Robinson R-44 helicopter, N160TX, was substantially damaged during a hard landing while conducting a simulated emergency landing at the Odessa-Schlemeyer Field Airport (ODO), near Odessa, Texas. The commercial pilot and his two passengers were not injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by a private corporation. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight originated from the accident airport at 1400. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to the 1,212-hour pilot, the flight departed runway 11 and remained in the landing pattern to demonstrate an autorotation for his passengers. While established on the left downwind he applied carburetor heat and radioed his intentions. Approximately 200 feet above ground level (agl), he lined up for a final approach to runway 11 and "made another radio call, checked carburetor temperature, checked gauges to make sure they were in the green and checked manifold pressure." All indications were "normal" so the pilot proceeded to "[roll] off" the engine power. With the "rotor RPM [bleeding] off very rapidly", the pilot elected to leave the collective in the full down position until he applied full engine throttle to start the flare. Shortly thereafter the pilot realized that the helicopter was going to impact the ground "hard."
The helicopter impacted the runway with enough force that the main rotor blades contacted the tail boom, resulting in its separation from the fuselage. The helicopter continued to slide down the runway for approximately 25 to 30 feet before rolling and coming to rest on its right side.
The pilot further reported that there was no mechanical malfunction or failure with the helicopter.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who examined the helicopter, reported that the fuselage, main and tail rotor blades, and the tail rotor drive shaft sustained structural damage.
At 1353, the automated surface observing system (ASOS) at ODO, reported wind from 120 degrees at 12 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 91 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 57 degrees Fahrenheit and a barometric pressure setting of 29.98 inches of Mercury.