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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 223317
Last updated: 4 September 2021
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Date:24-OCT-2017
Time:15:40
Type:Silhouette image of generic B06 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell 206B
Owner/operator:Private
Registration: N60EA
MSN: 2068
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Category:Accident
Location:Groom, TX -   United States of America
Phase: Unknown
Nature:Agricultural
Departure airport:Groom, TX
Destination airport:Groom, TX
Investigating agency: NTSB
Narrative:
The commercial pilot of the helicopter stated that there were 20 gallons of fuel on board when he departed on the aerial application flight. He flew to a 43-acre field and made steep turns while spraying the field. After dispensing the chemical, he made a steep, “hard right turn” en route to the operator’s base, which was located about 3/4 mile west of the field. About 40 seconds after making the hard right turn and with the fuel gauge indicating 10 gallons remaining, the helicopter was on approach for landing. While on a right base leg to the landing zone and about 40 ft above ground level with about 35 kts airspeed, the pilot felt the “tail wag,” and the engine stopped producing power. He performed an autorotation, but the tail impacted the ground during the landing flare, which resulted in substantial damage to the helicopter.  
During the examination of the helicopter, 2 spoons full of fuel were drained from the airframe fuel filter assembly. When the fuel boost pumps were turned on, they initially sounded as though they were cavitating. With the fuel boost pumps running, 7 gallons of fuel were drained from the fuel tank through the airframe fuel filter assembly. The engine was removed from the airframe and placed on a test cell, where it operated normally.
The helicopter flight manual stated that, if installed, the FUEL LOW light would illuminate with about 20 gallons of fuel remaining. It stated that, if this light illuminated, the pilot should, “Land as soon as practical.” The flight manual also contained a warning that, “Operation with both fuel boost pumps inoperative is not authorized. Due to possible fuel sloshing in unusual attitudes or out of trim conditions and one or both fuel boost pumps inoperative, the unusable fuel is 10 gallons.”
It is likely that the engine experienced a total loss of power due to fuel starvation; however, the reason for the fuel starvation was not determined. The pilot decided to operate the helicopter with less than 20 gallons of fuel, and 7 gallons of fuel were found in the helicopter after the accident occurred. The final, steep right turn likely was uncoordinated, and it might have caused the fuel pickup in the tank to become unported, allowing air into the fuel line. However, the pilot reported that the boost pump circuit breakers were in, and they should have been able to deliver fuel to the fuel filter assembly.


Probable Cause: The total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision to operate the helicopter with minimum fuel on board.

Sources:

NTSB

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 5 months
Download report: Final report
Other occurrences involving this aircraft

6 Jul 2002 N60EA Phoenix Precision Air LLC 0 Three Rivers, MI sub

Location


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
22-Mar-2019 19:12 ASN Update Bot Added

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