NTSB Identification: SEA99LA048.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, April 06, 1999 in PENDLETON, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/22/2000
Aircraft: Enstrom F-28C, registration: N51770
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During takeoff from the refueling pad, the helicopter's engine lost power and the pilot attempted an autorotation. Because the aircraft did not yet have sufficient airspeed or altitude to complete a successful autorotation, it landed hard and the main rotor blades flexed downward and impacted the tail boom. It was later determined that water contamination had accidentally been transferred from a portable refueling barrel to the aircraft's fuel system during hot refueling (with engine still running). It could not be determined how water was introduced into the refueling barrel.

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

A loss of power due to water contamination of the fuel. Factors include the inability of the helicopter to perform a successful autorotation immediately after takeoff.

Full narrative available

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