Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Bell 407, N489DM: Accident occurred September 15, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; North Texas

Location: Fort Worth, TX 
Accident Number: CEN20CA395
Date & Time: September 15, 2020, 17:15 Local 
Registration: N489DM
Aircraft: Bell 407
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell
Registration: N489DM
Model/Series: 407 No Series 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: 
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: 
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: 
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 32.749195,-97.330146 (est)


  1. How does that happen that the main rotor strikes the tail boom? Do the blades flex that much?

  2. Yes, hard landing and low rotor rpm in autorotation practice often gives a tail strike. Lots of writings about that can be found online.

  3. Rotor blades are very flexible by design and for good reason: as they rotate their speed of rotation (lift and forward velocity mandates by the pilot) requires more or less lift depending on needs of the pilot. The blades droop while parked for this reason. Aircraft wings also flex for the same reason but at a lot less extreme...unless you are a 787 passenger and see the wingtip from your window bend up above eye level. So point being, if enough down force is exerted on them, they will bend down enough to strike the tail boom as they have in decades of rotorcraft autorotate accidents.