On December 17, 2017, about 1300 mountain standard time, an experimental amateur-built Rotorway Exec series helicopter, N716JB, landed hard following a loss of engine power at Caldwell Industrial Airport, Caldwell, Idaho. The private pilot was not injured. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and tailboom during the accident sequence. The helicopter was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a personal flight. The local flight departed Caldwell about 1250. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.
The pilot stated that he planned to perform a series of hover taxi maneuvers, and then fly the helicopter in the traffic pattern. After taxiing around the airport for about 10 minutes, he heard an unusual engine sound, and the engine then lost all power. He performed an autorotation, and the helicopter landed hard, spreading the skids. Examination of the helicopter revealed that oil was leaking from the lower engine area, and a trail of oil was present on the ground in the areas that the helicopter was taxing.