NTSB Identification: LAX94LA090.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, January 04, 1994 in COOLIDGE DAM, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/07/1994
Aircraft: BELL 206B, registration: N771GM
Injuries: 1 Fatal,3 Serious.

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

After flying uneventfully for about 1.5 hrs, the pilot was directed to reposition the helicopter to another portion of a wildlife population survey flight area. While cruising en route, between 130 and 180 feet agl, the helicopter collided with an unmarked power line and crashed. A postimpact fire erupted which destroyed the helicopter. The State of AZ, Dept. of Fish & Game, had contracted for its personnel to be transported via helicopter over mountainous terrain on the survey flight. A mission requirement was to fly within 200 feet of ground level. Prior to departure, the pilot had prepared himself regarding obstructions in the survey area. The accident power lines were depicted on the sectional chart. Several pilots reported that the lines were extremely difficult to observe. The helicopter was not equipped with a wire strike protection system.

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

the pilot's selection of a cruise altitude insufficient to ensure adequate obstacle clearance and his inadequate visual lookout. A factor in the accident was the inconspicuousness of the power lines.

Full narrative available

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