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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 200714
Last updated: 23 August 2021
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Date:01-SEP-1999
Time:06:15
Type:Silhouette image of generic B06 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell 206B JetRanger II
Owner/operator:Bettencourt Flying Service Inc
Registration: N59551
MSN: 1392
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Category:Accident
Location:Delhi, CA -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Nature:Agricultural
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Narrative:
The pilot reported that the engine rpm began decreasing during the takeoff climb, about 200 to 300 feet agl, while he was over a grove of trees. He extended his autorotative glide to make it past the trees, which resulted in a further decrease of main rotor rpm. The helicopter landed hard, about 20 to 30 miles per hour of forward velocity, and rolled over. Postcrash examination by a FAA inspector revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunction; however, the fluid found in the airframe fuel filter and mechanical fuel pump screen was noted to be about 90 percent water. About 30 percent of the fluid found in the Ceco fuel system screen was also water. The FAA inspector reported that the fuel cap was loose in the opening and did not appear to seal properly; the shaft seal was worn in the cap and the cap locking mechanism was not adjusted properly. When the fuel cap was removed, the inspector noted that the bottom of the fuel filler opening was deformed from the fuel nozzles being inserted in the opening. The pilot reported that he had washed the helicopter the night before the accident. He further reported that during the preflight he had drained fuel from the airframe fuel filter and fuel sump and hadn't noted any water or contaminants.

Probable Cause: The loss of engine power due to the pilot's inadequate preflight, which failed to detect water contamination of the fuel system. The operator's inadequate maintenance of the loose fitting fuel cap and the deformed filler opening, which allowed water to leak into the fuel tank, were also causal. A factor in the accident was the trees along the autorotative flight path, which required the pilot to stretch the glide and resulted in a low main rotor rpm situation for the landing flare.

Sources:

NTSB: https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief.aspx?ev_id=20001212X19798&key=1


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
30-Oct-2017 16:36 TB Added
14-Dec-2017 09:26 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Operator, Nature, Source, Damage, Narrative]

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