At 40 Knots And 175 Ft AGL, The Helicopter Started To Yaw To The Right

Location: Gonzales, LA Accident Number: CEN22LA009
Date & Time: October 6, 2021, 14:15 Local Registration: N373SP
Aircraft: Bell 206B Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Public aircraft

On October 6, 2021, about 1415 central daylight time, a Bell 206B helicopter, N373SP, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Gonzales, Louisiana. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. The helicopter was operated as a public aircraft flight.

The pilot of the Louisiana State Police Air Support Unit helicopter reported that while on the downwind leg to land to runway 35 at the Louisiana Regional Airport (REG), Gonzales, Louisiana, he completed the before landing checks. The pilot then reduced the power and began to slow the helicopter to about 60 knots. After completing the base leg, he maneuvered the helicopter for final while at 400 ft agl. The pilot applied a small amount of power to sustain the  desired approach angle. While at 40 knots and 175 ft agl, the helicopter started to yaw to the right. The pilot applied left pedal and the helicopter continued to yaw to the right.

The pilot observed the trim indicator and confirmed that the helicopter was in trim, however he still had to apply left pedal. Shortly thereafter, the helicopter “aggressively” yawed to the right. The pilot applied forward cyclic input and the helicopter rolled to the left while it continued to rotate “very aggressively” to the right. The pilot attempted to regain control using cyclic input, however he was unable. The pilot decreased the throttle to idle, the helicopter began to settle, and he applied collective input to cushion the landing. The helicopter came to rest partially upright on the grass, with the skids split, about 200 ft short of the approach end of the runway. The pilot performed an emergency shutdown and was able to egress from the helicopter without further incident.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the main rotor system, the fuselage, the tailboom, and the tail rotor system. The wreckage was recovered for a future examination of the airframe and engine.