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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: CEN19LA121
14 CFR Public Aircraft
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 16, 2019 in Omaha, NE
Aircraft: Bell OH 58A, registration: N109PD
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On April 16, 2019, at 0730 central daylight time, a Bell OH-58A helicopter, N109PD, impacted terrain during an autorotation following a partial loss of engine power near Omaha, Nebraska. The pilot and co-pilot were not injured, and the helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tail boom. The helicopter was registered to and operated by the Omaha Police Department as a public aircraft operations flight under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area at the time of the accident. The flight originated from the North Omaha Airport (3N0), Omaha, Nebraska, at the time of the accident and was destined for Blair, Nebraska.

According to the Omaha Police Department, shortly after takeoff and climbing through about 200-250 ft above ground level, the pilots recognized an audible horn, low rotor RPM, and a loss of engine power indications in the cockpit. The flying pilot, who was seated in the right seat, entered an autorotation in an attempt to recover rotor RPM. The pilots observed the best suitable landing area was north and west of 3N0. Upon touchdown in the soft terrain, the forward landing gear skids dug into the terrain, and the helicopter rocked forward and backward which then caused the main rotor blades to contact the tail boom. The helicopter came to rest upright with the tail boom separated from the airframe.