Executed A Hover Maneuver Close To The Ground And Experienced A Sudden Yaw To The Left

Location: Johnson, KS Accident Number: CEN21LA184
Date & Time: April 5, 2021, 17:00 Local Registration: N8348X
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R44 Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On April 5, 2021, at 1700 central daylight time, a Robinson Helicopter R44, N8348X, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Johnson, Kansas. The pilot and one passenger were not injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to statements provided by the pilot and pilot-rated passenger, they were using the helicopter to check their wheat fields. The wind was from about 180° at 10 knots and the helicopter was flying south into the wind. The pilot executed a hover maneuver close to the ground and experienced a sudden yaw to the left. The helicopter completed more than one full rotation to the left, then landed hard in the field and rolled onto its left side. The pilot later stated that he did not know if there were any mechanical malfunctions but that “something felt wrong” as he transitioned into the hover.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and main rotor blades. The pilot transported the helicopter to a barn, and it has been retained for further examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov