NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The private pilot was conducting an out-of-ground effect hover over his property, while the passenger took photographs. At the time, the reciprocating engine helicopter was about 200 feet agl, in an approximate 5 to 10-knot tailwind. The tail of the helicopter began to oscillate left and right, followed by a nose-down descent and impact with a building and terrain. Although the tail oscillated, the helicopter did not spin. The weight of the helicopter at the time of the accident was approximately 2,570 lbs, which was under the 2,850-lb. maximum gross weight of the helicopter. Review of the rotorcraft flight manual revealed that the helicopter was on the edge of the performance envelope, where it could hover out-of-ground-effect at 2,500 lbs., under the given conditions, but not at 2,850 lbs., under the given conditions. In addition, the performance information did not contain any data for hovering out-of-ground-effect in a tailwind, and a tailwind may have required the use of more tail rotor thrust to maintain directional control, which meant there was less power available to the main rotor for the production of lift. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any pre-impact mechanical malfunctions.