On December 30, 2008, at 1255 central standard time, a Galen Cotton homebuilt Helicycle, N555CX, a single-engine turbine helicopter, sustained substantial damage when it landed hard on its right skid and rolled over after a loss of engine power at David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport (DWH), Houston, Texas. The certificated private pilot/builder/owner was not injured. No flight plan was filed and visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that was conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On the day of the accident, the pilot submitted a written statement to investigators. He reported that he initiated a take off in calm wind conditions with a hover transition approximately 6 feet above the ground and headed toward the "adjacent practice area for his take off run." The pilot said, "As the ship lifted a left pedal turn was initiated and forward flight began crossing the taxiway adjacent to the ramp. As the aircraft crossed the taxiway, [he] felt a left yaw and heard the engine surge." The pilot immediately began to maneuver back to the taxiway but subsequently the engine stopped producing power and yawed to the left. He said he was unable to maintain altitude and directional control. The helicopter contacted the ground with the nose of the helicopter pointed approximately 35 degrees to the left of the direction of flight. The right skid collapsed upon impact and the helicopter rolled over onto its right side.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector performed an on scene examination of the helicopter. According to the inspector, the helicopter sustained substantial damage to the skids, main rotor grips and blades, and the vertical tail section. The main and tail rotor drive shafts were not damaged. There was fuel in the fuel lines to the engine and all sumps were absent of debris and water. The fuel selector valve was intact and functioned normally.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate for airplane single and multi engine land, helicopter, and instrument airplane. He reported a total of 3,700 flight hours with approximately 300 hours in helicopters.
Weather reported at the time of the accident included wind from 210 degrees at 6 knots, visibility 10 miles, and clear skies.