On June 5, 2018, about 1245 eastern daylight time, a Bell 206B helicopter, N518Z, sustained substantial damage after a loss of engine power and subsequent hard landing near Sanders, Kentucky. The commercial pilot and sole passenger sustained minor injuries. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Due North Aviation LLC., under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the cross country aerial observation flight, which originated from the Madison Municipal Airport (IMS), Madison, Indiana about 1205 and was destined for a private field near Mt Orab, Ohio.
The pilot reported that while patrolling on the right side of the transmission power lines, about 120 ft above the ground and a ground speed about 35-40 knots, he heard the engine rpm decrease. He looked towards the instrument panel and noted that the low rotor RPM light was illuminated and heard the aural low RPM alert. After unsuccessfully completing remedial actions to regain rotor rpm, the pilot initiated an autorotation to a nearby landing area. The helicopter landed hard, which resulted in substantial damage to the airframe.
The wreckage was transported to a secure facility for further examination.