The pilot reported that when he was at 300 feet altitude and half a mile out on approach, the hydraulics to the controls went out and they became very stiff. He elected to continue the approach into the landing zone. During the landing touchdown, the heel of the left skid struck a berm, rocking the helicopter forward. Subsequently the toe of the right skid struck the ground causing the helicopter to oscillate and start to roll to the left. The pilot attempted to correct, but the helicopter continued to rollover until it impacted the ground.
As the pilot evacuated the cockpit, he turned off the fuel and electrical equipment. Fuel was pouring out of the right tank into the area around the cockpit and engine. As he walked away he heard “crackling, popping, then a whoosh.” as the fuel ignited.
An inspector with the FAA responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. The cockpit was consumed by the post impact fire and there was fire damage to the engine and transmission components. The tail boom remained attached to the fuselage, but was bent mid span. Both rotor blades were fire damaged near the rotor head and exhibited strike damage further out that occurred during the accident sequence.
Tags: Accidents, B47, Bell, Civil, Ewing Flying Service, Safety, US-Alabama