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N127AE accident description

Missouri map... Missouri list
Crash location 38.662222°N, 90.651944°W
Nearest city Chesterfield, MO
38.663108°N, 90.577067°W
4.0 miles away
Tail number N127AE
Accident date 07 May 2015
Aircraft type Bell 206L 3
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On May 7, 2015, about 1439 central daylight time, a Bell model 206-L3 helicopter, N127AE, sustained substantial damage to the fuselage during a practice run-on landing to runway 26L at the Spirit of St. Louis Airport, near Chesterfield, Missouri. The pilot and instructor pilot were not injured. The aircraft was registered to and operated by Air Evac EMS, Inc. under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on a company visual flight rules flight plan. The local flight originated about 1438.

The purpose of the flight was to conduct recurrent pilot training. The flight instructor that was on-board the helicopter reported that the pilot was performing a run-on landing in conjunction with a simulated hydraulic failure. He stated that the helicopter touched down on the runway just right of the runway centerline at a speed of about 5 knots. The helicopter skidded about 10 yards and the left landing skid contacted the recessed runway centerline light. At that time the flight instructor did not believe that any damage had occurred to the helicopter or the runway light, but elected to return to the hangar. The damage to the helicopter was discovered after engine shutdown. The pilot's report of the accident coincided with that of the instructor.

Examination of the runway light revealed that the runway light had a rectangular metal cover over a recessed area of the metal light base to protect the light element. The cover had a portion of the approach side of the metal cover torn away. Examination of the helicopter landing gear revealed that removable protective shoes were mounted on the bottom surface of the skid tube to prevent abrasion. The skid shoes were semi-circular metal pieces attached to the bottom side of each skid tube. The skid shoes were not continuous and the construction was such that a short vertical lip was formed at the leading edge of each shoe on the underside of the skid tube.

Examination of the helicopter revealed damage to the underside of the fuselage in the area where the left skid was mounted. The damage was consistent with excessive rearward force acting on the skid.

NTSB Probable Cause

The collision of the helicopter's skid shoe with the runway centerline light during landing, which abruptly stopped the helicopter and resulted in damage to the fuselage.

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