Bell OH-58A, St. Augustine, Fla., June 29, 2005–The compressor section of the Bell’s engine failed for undetermined reasons, the NTSB said, causing the loss of engine power during initial climb.
A factor was the operator’s use of a confined area for takeoff during nonemergency or routine situations. The pilot said that while climbing out at 35 to 40 feet agl, and at 30 to 35 knots, he heard a “bang” and the helicopter yawed to the right. He said the yaw might have been due to his overcorrection. He lowered the collective and turned left, trying to land. He pulled the collective to clear vehicles below and, as a result, the helicopter hit the ground hard, and the main rotor blades smashed into several vehicles. The pilot sustained minor injuries; the observer was uninjured.