He Felt A Dynamic Rollover Starting…
Location: Palmyra, PA Accident Number: ERA21LA171
Date & Time: April 3, 2021, 16:30 Local Registration: N577DD
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER CO R66 Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal
On April 3, 2021, about 1630 eastern daylight time, a Robinson R66 helicopter; N577DD, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident in Palmyra, Pennsylvania. The pilot was seriously injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.
On the day of the accident, the pilot had picked up the helicopter at Fredrick Municipal Airport (FDK), Fredrick, Maryland where an annual inspection had just been completed on the helicopter. The pilot then flew it to Double D Ranch Heliport (70PA), Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania to pick up a package that he wanted to deliver in the Hershey, Pennsylvania area. He then flew direct to Reigle Field Airport (58N) Palmyra, Pennsylvania.
While enroute he “picked up” up the weather, and upon arriving in the area of 58N, entered the traffic pattern for runway 31. His intended landing point was the grassy area just to the east of runway 31.
According to the pilot, on touchdown, the helicopter was on a slight downhill slope. He felt a dynamic rollover starting, so he pulled up on the collective control stick and his right foot slipped off the right tail rotor control pedal and got stuck behind it. The helicopter then impacted the ground in a left turn from a low hover.
According to a witness, who worked at 58N, during the helicopter’s approach for landing, the helicopter flew towards her office from the runway, closer than the witness had every seen happen at the airport, and it was right next to the picnic table (which was close to the building she was in). She stated that the helicopter was “really wobbly.” Then when it came down, it bounced gently off the ground, flew up rather quickly, and did a tailspin in the other direction away from the office and crashed.
According to another witness, who was riding in a vehicle at the time, he observed the nose of the helicopter go down, then the main rotor hit the ground and the helicopter instantly crash into the ground.