Sikorsky S-76A, Houston, April 19, 2006–The S-76A was hovering at West Houston Airport (IWS) when tail rotor control was lost. Registered to and operated by Houston Helicopters of Pearland, Texas, the helicopter was substantially damaged, but the commercial pilot, copilot and eight passengers were uninjured.
The pilot said he made a right pedal turn to land facing the airport’s terminal building. All forward movement had stopped, and he began lowering the collective to land when the aircraft entered an uncommanded spin to the right. The copilot said the helicopter made about three full 360-degree turns before hitting the ground. After the aircraft hit, the pilot pulled back the power levers.
The S-76 had flown to IWS from a station in the Gulf of Mexico.