A friend of mine was the instructor in this helicopter.
What is ground resonance?GOSHEN, Ind. -- A helicopter shook itself apart after landing at a northern Indiana airport Friday, injuring all three people aboard.
"I could see them getting thrown around like rag dolls," said Gordon Miller, who was fueling planes at Goshen Municipal Airport when the accident occurred about 11 a.m. "I've never seen anything like that before."
Airport manager Randy Sharkey said the shaking apparently was caused by ground resonance, a phenomenon that occurs when a helicopter's rotors get out of synch while it is on the ground.
"It was a smooth touchdown, but then the helicopter came back up in the air and began to shake violently," Sharkey said. "It was out of control."
Miller said the Enstrom helicopter's tail section began bucking and broke off after it bounced back into the air. Witnesses said all three occupants were ejected from the aircraft.
"It was sickening to see that," Sharkey said. "It was horrible."
The pilot was airlifted to Memorial Hospital in South Bend, about 20 miles northwest of Goshen. His identity was not released and information about his condition was not immediately available.
The Truth of Elkhart identified the other two as flight instructor Kenny Keller of Burboun and Justin Dale of Mishawaka. They were taken to Goshen Hospital.
Sharkey said the passengers' injuries were not life-threatening.
The three were completing a cross-country flight from Grand Rapids, Iowa, to Goshen, said Harold Jones, an aviator safety inspector with the Federal Aviation Association.
Federal officials are investigating the accident.
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