No that’s not the corvette in the foreground, but that’s definitely the soon-to-be-crashed AH-1F (N197LE) in the background.
According to the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in a preliminary report, the pilot and his passenger had just completed a practice run of the race course when he experienced a control malfunction.
The sequence, at the Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08) in Arizona on 1 March, used the Cobra operated by the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation and Musuem for a segment to be aired as part of the Korean Top Gear television series.
The pilot and and mechanic onboard received “minor injuries”, says the NTSB.
“The pilot stated that the next filming sequence, when the accident occurred, was to consist of a racing sequence with a Corvette,” the NTSB says. “At 1205, they began a practice run/filming sequence that terminated at the start/finish line. The pilot initiated a right 150 to 180 degree turn reaching about 200 feet above the ground.”
“He was attempting to neutralize the controls in preparation for a normal approach for landing when he realized the controls were ‘locked and unmovable in any direction.’ The pilot stated that the helicopter remained in the same rate of turn with the same collective pitch and cyclic input as when he had initiated the turn. The helicopter maintained the same arc through the turn and descent until it impacted the ground. The pilot further stated that he was reaching to activate the emergency hydraulic switch at impact.” The investigation continues…
Here’s a video clip of the accident in action.