On June 29, 2018, about 2010 central daylight time, a Robinson helicopter, N787SH, registered to Concho Aviation LLC, of Sterling City, Texas, was destroyed when it impacted the ground for undetermined reasons while on landing approach to its home base of operations in Sterling, Texas. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The flight was being conducted under the provisions Federal Code of Regulations Part 91. The flight originated about 1958 from a work location on the McEntire Ranch, Sterling City, Texas.
A witness stated that she saw the helicopter on a normal approach to its home base landing site (a helicopter transport trailer parked into the wind). As the helicopter approached the trailer, into the wind, about 5-feet above the trailer, it backed off the approach and began to spin. The helicopter climbed to about 20-25 feet while spinning to the left. The witness heard a noise similar to a rapid reduction of engine power and the helicopter impacted the ground. There was no evidence of contact with obstructions during the approach and no radio distress calls from the experienced pilot. A company pilot reported that the wind was about 10-12 knots from the south about the time of the accident. After initial examinations of the engine, airframe, and flight controls, the helicopter and on board components were transported to secure facilities for additional examinations.
The helicopter had flown a previous flight of about 3.7 hours duration on the morning of the accident. The pilot of that flight did not report any anomalies with the helicopter. The helicopter was configured with single pilot flight controls on the right side, and the left side pilot controls (pedals, collective, cyclic) were not installed. Three ammunition cans containing tools and several loose shotgun (discharged and undischarged) shells were present within the wreckage area. The operator stated that the helicopter was routinely utilized in cattle roundup and predator mitigation operations.