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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 230638
Last updated: 13 November 2019
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Type:Bell UH 1H
Owner/operator:Yukon Helicopters Inc
Registration: N4085L
C/n / msn: 68-15655
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Bethel, AK -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Bethel, AK (None)
Destination airport:Bethel, AK (BET)
Investigating agency: NTSB
The pilot reported that, before departure, he was told the helicopter was topped off with fuel for the multistop flight. He added that he did not verify the fuel quantity but that, when he departed for the last leg about 60 miles from the destination airport, the fuel gauge showed just below 600 lbs of fuel, and he decided to fly at 120 knots with a tailwind. He added that, about 3 miles from the destination airport, the engine lost power. He performed an autorotation, but the helicopter landed hard.
The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tailboom and transmission mounts.
The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation.
The pilot reported that, after landing, the fuel quantity gauge showed that there was about 225 lbs of fuel remaining and that the 20-minute fuel light, which did not illuminate during the flight, illuminated once on the ground. He estimated that the helicopter's fuel burn was about 75 to 80 gallons per hour (gph).
The chief pilot, who was also the helicopterís owner, reported that he had refueled the helicopter on uneven terrain before the flight. He filled the tank to the bottom of the filler cap on the left side, which he estimated was about 10 to 15 gallons less than the total fuel capacity of the 210-gallon tank. He estimated that the helicopter burned about 90 gph. He added that there were no open mechanical squawks on the helicopter and that he was not aware of any mechanical issues.
The Federal Aviation Administrator inspector who examined the helicopter at the accident site reported that the fuel quantity gauge had been serviced and calibrated earlier in the year but continued to indicate that fuel was onboard even after the helicopter ran out of fuel. The 20-minute low fuel light appeared to be functioning normally.

Probable Cause: The pilot's improper fuel planning, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and a total loss of engine power, and his improper landing flare during a forced autorotation, which resulted in a hard landing. Contributing to the accident were the inoperative fuel gauge, which was not accurately calibrated, and the pilotís reliance on the gauge.



Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 5 months
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

13-Nov-2019 08:22 ASN Update Bot Added

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