LAX08CA282
LAX08CA282

The pilot reported that after landing, he taxied the helicopter toward the refueling area. He taxied for about 80 yards to the fuel station, which placed the fuel pump at the pilot’s 10-o’clock position with a taxiway pointing to the fuel pump. While they were in position to taxi to the fuel pump, airport personnel radioed that they would be pushing an airplane away from the fuel pump for clearance purposes. The pilot reported hangars off to his left near the fuel station, which was a preferable location as he was flying from the left side and it would be easier to maintain clearance from the obstacles.

The pilot repositioned the helicopter to an adjacent taxiway in order to stay out of the way of the airplane. The taxiway had a straight on approach to the fuel pump, which would require a left turn to the fuel pump. This would then place the hangars on the right side of the helicopter. The pilot stated that this approach was not as clear as the first one due to the proximity of the hangars. Upon arrival at the fuel pump, the pilot initiated the left turn asking the copilot, crew chief, and a mechanic who were on the intercom with him, to assist him by keeping an eye on the hangars that were on his right side. About halfway through the turn the aft main rotor blades contacted the last hangar. The aft rotor blades pulled the aft portion of the helicopter to the right and struck the front face of the hangar, which caused more damage to the rotor blades. At that point, both throttles where reduced and the wheel brakes were applied, followed by a shutdown.

The three aft main rotor blades were destroyed, along with damage to two hangars and debris damage to an airplane located in one of the hangars. A taxiway light was also destroyed.

In the recommendation of how this accident/incident could have been prevented section of the Safety Board’s Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1), the pilot stated that existing guidelines and procedures for rotor clearance from obstacles was reiterated to company pilots, as well as, including the incident as part of their annual pilot’s training and discussions. The helicopter company also instituted a new procedure for wing walking whenever they are taxiing in close tolerance or congested areas.

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