ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 139550
Last updated: 8 September 2020
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Type:Silhouette image of generic H500 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Hughes 500D (369D)
Owner/operator:PJ Helicopters
Registration: N61PJ
C/n / msn: 770162D
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Near Wescott Road, 6 miles W of Colusa County Airport, California -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Colusa, CA
Destination airport:Colusa, CA
Investigating agency: NTSB
The helicopter was climbing and translating away from a power and communications line tower when the engine experienced a total loss of power. At that time, the helicopter was about 175 feet above ground level and had little forward airspeed, which placed it in the portion of the height-velocity regime unfavorable for autorotation. The helicopter began to descend rapidly, the pilot began an autorotation, and the helicopter subsequently landed hard in a field.
During postaccident examination, manufacturer-specified vacuum leak checks could not determine the preimpact integrity of the fuel system due to impact damage and some initially undetected problems with the vacuum leak check equipment. About 30 gallons of fuel was found in the fuel tank, and it was free of water and other visible contaminants. Further, fuel from the fuel truck that supplied the helicopter was subsequently used in other aircraft without any problems. Detailed examinations of the airframe and engine did not reveal any mechanical deficiencies or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause: A total loss of engine power while maneuvering at low altitude for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examinations did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Contributing to the accident severity was the operation of the helicopter within a portion of the height-velocity regime unfavorable for autorotation.


FAA register: 2. FAA:


Revision history:

28-Oct-2011 14:11 RobertMB Added
28-Oct-2011 14:12 RobertMB Updated [Location, Narrative]
23-Aug-2016 14:21 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:26 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
27-Nov-2017 17:20 ASN Update Bot Updated [Cn, Operator, Other fatalities, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description