NTSB Identification: MIA99GA072.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, February 02, 1999 in LAKELAND, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/07/2000
Aircraft: Bell OH-58C, registration: N151ES
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

: NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

The pilot had completed his duty day and had secured the helicopter in the hangar. Another officer then came to him at the hangar and told him that another Sheriff's Department needed their assistance right away. The pilot then took the helicopter out to the pad on a dolly, that was pulled by a tug, the size of a riding lawn mower. His usual procedure was to disconnect the tug and move it out of the way. On this flight because of the urgency of the request he left the tug attached, and moved it to the left of the dolly, but not out of the way. The pilot and the officer entered the helicopter, called for departure at 2152, brought the helicopter to a hover, initiated forward flight for departure, and moved forward approximately 12 feet, when the left skid tip struck the tug. The skid became stuck under the hood approximately 6 inches from the top of the tug. The helicopter pivoted forward causing the tail boom to move up. The pilot then attempted to correct the pitch attitude change with aft cyclic input causing the main rotor to strike tail boom cutting off the vertical fin, tail rotor and gear box, plus about 5 feet of tail boom. The nose pitched down causing the main rotor to strike the ground, the helicopter spun, and rolled over coming to rest on its right side. On the day of the accident the pilot woke up at 0630, took a flight physical that was completed at 1030. He ate lunch from 1100 to 1200, and reported for duty at 1300. Prior to the accident, he had flown a total of 1.6 hours. He was scheduled to be off duty at 2200.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot-in command's failure to maintain clearance from the tug. A related factor was the induced pressure.

Full narrative available

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