The student pilot, who was flying solo, reported he “lost control” of the helicopter as he maneuvered over the ramp at the airport in Independence, Iowa, for a landing towards the south and into the wind.
He was unable to regain directional control before the helicopter hit an unoccupied airplane and a hangar.
The helicopter cabin and tail boom sustained substantial damage. The student pilot sustained serious injuries.
Airport security video footage showed the helicopter approached the ramp in a hover-taxi heading east before it entered an increasingly rapid left spin as it drifted north toward a parked airplane and a hangar.
The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation of the helicopter.
He added the wind direction might have changed during the landing, however a post-accident review of available weather data confirmed that the wind was likely from the south at 12-13 knots.
Probable Cause: The student pilot’s failure to maintain helicopter control while maneuvering to land, which resulted in impact with an airplane and a hangar.
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This January 2020 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.