Preliminary report: EC 120 damaged in autorotation

 - March 28, 2007, 10:32 AM

EUROCOPTER EC 120B, JONESBORO, GA., JAN. 24, 2004–At 4:50 p.m. Eurocopter N125MG hit the ground during a practice autorotation at the Hampton/Clayton County/Tara Airport (4A7) near Jonesboro. The VFR instructional flight was operated under Part 91 and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The flight instructor and pilot-rated student were not injured, but the helicopter, registered to and operated by KSB Domestic Holdings, sustained substantial damage to the main rotor blades and the tailboom.

The flight instructor said that during the touchdown phase of a practice autorotation, the main rotor blades made contact with and severed the tailboom. He further said the student was flying the helicopter in an autorotative descent and his cross-check showed normal rotor rpm indications. At approximately six feet above the ground, the instructor told the student to “cushion.” The student pulled additional rear cyclic and the tail stinger struck the ground. As the helicopter rebounded into a nose-low attitude, the instructor pulled collective and leveled the helicopter for touchdown. However, a loud noise was heard during this time and he shut down the engine.