Wind flips Kaman, killing ground worker

 - July 28, 2009, 10:26 AM

Kaman K-1200, Santa Clarita, Calif., Dec. 17, 2008– The helicopter sustained substantial damage after being upset by a strong gust of wind while standing with engines running and rotors turning. A ground crewman was killed in the accident. According to the pilot (who was not harmed), just after the helicopter’s engines were started and still at ground idle and after the mechanic had disconnected the auxiliary power unit “the helicopter began to lift on the right side. I applied full right cyclic to counter the lifting. I ran out of cyclic and was on the stops. The aircraft was still lifting to the left. The right wheel then came off the ground and the tail of the aircraft lifted over the nose.”

The pilot told investigators that the main rotor blades struck a fuel truck and shattered, before hitting the mechanic. The helicopter then flipped over and landed upside down. There was no post-crash fire. The pilot reported that gusty wind conditions in
the area were not uncommon. According to the FAA-approved Kaman K-1200 flight manual, the maximum right quartering tailwind condition envelope for takeoff and landing is from 17 to 25 knots.