No Injuries in Florida Helicopter Incident

On September 5, 2007, a Bell 206B Helicopter registered to and operated by Tiger Aviation Sales LLC, experienced a hard landing at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (KLAL), Lakeland, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 business flight from a construction site located in Oldsmar, Florida, to Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. The helicopter was substantially damaged and the commercial-rated pilot and three passengers were not injured. The flight originated about 1445, from Oldsmar, Florida.

The pilot stated that the last wind report indicated the wind was from 050 degrees at 10-15 knots. While landing to a hover into the wind, the nose of the helicopter started turning to the right. He applied left anti-torque pedal input to the stop but was not successful. He then performed a hovering autorotation and touched down heading 180 degrees, bounced, and came to rest upright heading 270 degrees.

Preliminary examination of the helicopter by an FAA Airworthiness Inspector revealed no damage to the tail rotor blades. The main rotor blades were rotated by hand and tail rotor drive continuity was confirmed to the tail rotor blades. The tail rotor blades were then held stationary and the main rotor blades were then rotated in the normal direction of rotation. A “popping or cracking” sound was noted at the forward fitting of the #5 tail rotor drive shaft; evidence of heat discoloration was noted on the exterior surface of the forward fitting of the #5 tail rotor drive shaft.