ERA09CA542
ERA09CA542

The pilot had agreed to use his helicopter to participate in a publicity event at a golf course. The event consisted of landing in a designated area to pick up a load of golf balls, then dropping the golf balls from the hovering helicopter. Several days before the event, the pilot visited the golf course to survey the landing area. He was not advised to expect a marshaler. On the day of the accident, the helicopter approached the golf course, and entered a hover above the putting green that the pilot planned to land on. Several witnesses reported that a person on the ground began providing hand signals to direct the pilot. In response to the signals, the pilot began to back up the helicopter, and one of the landing skids contacted a wooden statue. The pilot was unable to regain control of the helicopter before it rolled onto its left side and struck the ground. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the cabin area, skids and tail boom, and the tail rotor was separated. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies with the helicopter prior to the accident. Subsequent to the accident, it was determined that the marshaler was self-appointed, and that he did not have any formal training in marshaling aircraft. The nearest weather reporting station, located approximately 17 nautical miles north of the accident site, reported winds of 9 knots about the time of the accident.

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