On January 28, 2018, about 1530 eastern standard time, an experimental, amateur-built Vertical Aviation Technologies 260L Hummingbird helicopter, N4045, operated by the commercial pilot, was substantially damaged during a forced landing, following a total loss of engine power during cruise flight near Harrisville, New York. The commercial pilot was not injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight that originated from Potsdam Municipal Airport (PTD), Potsdam, New York, about 1500. The flight was destined to pilot's private residence in Harrisville, New York.
The pilot reported that helicopter was 6 miles from the destination at 500 ft above ground level, when the engine sputtered once and then lost all power. The pilot performed an autorotation into a low-lying valley with short trees. During the landing, the main rotor and tailrotor contacted trees, resulting in substantial damage. The landing gear also sustained damage.
The helicopter was assembled in 2010 and equipped with a Chevrolet LS3 engine. At the time of the accident, the airframe and engine had accumulated 456.8 total hours of operation. The helicopter's most recent annual inspection was completed October 29, 2017. The helicopter had flown 5.3 hours from the time of that inspection, until the accident.
The wreckage was retained for further examination.