CEN12LA325
CEN12LA325

On May 27, 2012, at 0630 central daylight time, a Robinson Helicopter Company model R44 II, N1UB, was substantially damaged while hover-taxiing at Mount Hawley Auxiliary Airport (3MY), Peoria, Illinois. The pilot and 2 passengers were not injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Green Aircraft Leasing, Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight, which was operated without a flight plan. The cross-country flight to Joliet, Illinois, was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported that he was repositioning the helicopter from the fixed-base operator ramp area to the airport's north/south taxiway where he intended to make a southerly departure. He stated that after hover-taxiing about 30 yards to the east-northeast he made a left turn toward north. He reported that during this turn the helicopter encountered a wind gust that elevated the tail boom to the point where the forward portion of the landing skids made contact with the tarmac. The helicopter landed hard after the pilot lowered the collective in response to the loss of control. The tail boom, tail rotor, and main rotor impacted the tarmac during the hard landing. The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation of the helicopter.

The closest weather observation station was at the General Downing - Peoria International Airport (KPIA), located about 8 miles south-southwest of the accident site. At 0654, the KPIA automated surface observation system reported the following weather conditions: wind 190 degrees at 5 knots; visibility 10 miles; clear skies; temperature 23 degrees Celsius; dew point 18 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 29.97 inches of mercury.

The weather observation station also recorded the following 1-minute wind data:
At 0630, wind from 193 degrees at 5 knots; peak wind from 194 degrees at 6 knots
At 0631, wind from 191 degrees at 5 knots; peak wind from 195 degrees at 5 knots
At 0632, wind from 190 degrees at 5 knots; peak wind from 189 degrees at 6 knots
At 0633, wind from 190 degrees at 5 knots; peak wind from 188 degrees at 7 knots
At 0634, wind from 190 degrees at 5 knots; peak wind from 188 degrees at 6 knots
At 0635, wind from 188 degrees at 5 knots; peak wind from 187 degrees at 6 knots

A postaccident review of available wind data did not reveal any wind gusts during the one-hour time period surrounding the accident.

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