On January 24, 2018, about 1700 eastern standard time, a Schweizer 269C-1, N3947C, operated by Pelican Flight Training LLC., was substantially damaged during an autorotation after takeoff from the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Heliport (DT1), Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. The flight was operated in accordance with Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight that was destined for North Perry Airport (HWO), Hollywood, Florida
According to the flight instructor, he was demonstrating a "maximum performance takeoff procedure" from a rooftop helipad. During takeoff, he lifted the helicopter off "slowly" and proceeded into a hover "straight-up" vertically, about 30 ft above the helipad. As he moved the flight controls to proceed forward on-course, all at the same moment, the low rotor rpm light and low rotor rpm horn activated, and the helicopter began to lose altitude. He immediately lowered the collective and attempted to add throttle, which did not arrest the descent, so he repeated the procedure a second time, and realized that he already had full throttle applied. The sink continued, and he performed an autorotation toward a street below and ahead of the helicopter's flight path.
The helicopter landed hard on a street about 700 ft east, and about 110 ft below the rooftop helipad. During the landing, the helicopter's tail rotor and tail boom sustained substantial damage.
During a postaccident interview, the student pilot reported that "there was a problem with the engine."
According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates with ratings for rotorcraft-helicopter and instrument-helicopter. His most recent second-class medical certificate was issued in May 2017, and he reported 443 total flight hours at that time.
According to FAA records, the two-seat, skid-equipped, helicopter, was manufactured in 2008, and was equipped with a Lycoming HIO-360-G1A, 190-horsepower engine.
The weather conditions reported about the time of the accident at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which was located about 3 miles south of the accident site, included wind at 030° at 8 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky conditions scattered at 2,700 ft and broken at 6,000 ft above ground level, temperature 23°C, and dew point 21°C.
The helicopter was retained for further examination.