Enstrom 480, N480DS
At the end of a five minute flight from a private site, the pilot made his approach to The Heliport from the north east. Prior to his departure, he had assessed the surface wind as about 220?/10 to 15 kt. However, on arrival at Droitwich he noted from the wind sock that the wind direction appeared to be very variable and he assessed it as generally varying between 270? and 300? with a strength of 15 to 18 kt. Initially, he considered that his approach was good until approaching the landing area when he experienced an apparent wind shear, which resulted in N480DS moving forward towards a nearby hedge. He immediately applied collective control but was unable to avoid striking the hedge with the tail section of the helicopter. The helicopter started rotating in a clockwise direction and the pilot was then aware of it touching down briefly on the skids before toppling onto its right side. An aftercast from The Meteorological Office indicated that the surface wind was 340?/15 kt gusting 25 kt. This would have resulted in a tailwind component during the approach and would have made precise control of the helicopter more difficult.
Published 10 December 2014