NTSB Identification: BFO94LA040.
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Accident occurred Monday, February 14, 1994 in FARMVILLE, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/25/1995
Aircraft: Hiller UH-12E, registration: N4495M
Injuries: 2 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.

The pilot reported that they landed at the airport to refuel and were going to do a quick turn around. The passenger of the helicopter went into the fueling facility and requested fuel. The type of fuel requested by the passenger was disputed. The pilot stated that he was handed an unmarked nozzle and he proceeded to refuel the helicopter. The pilot stated that he questioned the line service personnel about the different size nozzle and rapid fuel flow rate, and the line service person responded '...that is what is required.' The pilot reported that he did not take any fuel samples after he refueled the helicopter. At the time of the refueling, the fuel tank area at the airport was under construction. The 100 low lead fuel tanks were placarded, but the Jet A fuel tanks were new and the placards were not yet available for display. About four minutes after takeoff, the helicopter's engine lost power. The pilot made an emergency landing in wooded terrain. The pilot and passenger were not injured and the helicopter was substantially damaged. Fuel samples were taken from the helicopter's fuel tank and tested. The fuel tests revealed that the fuel was Jet A and not the required 100 low lead fuel.

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

the pilot's failure to refuel the helicopter with the correct fuel. Factors in the accident were the unclear information given by the passenger and airport line service personnel, the insufficient information regarding the labeling of the airport's fuel tanks, and the lack of suitable terrain to complete a forced landing without damaging the helicopter.

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