NTSB Identification: LAX94LA134.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 23, 1994 in HUMUULA, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/19/1994
Aircraft: AEROSPATIALE AS-350-B, registration: N766MP
Injuries: 2 Serious,5 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 WAS CONDUCTING A LOCAL SIGHTSEEING HELICOPTER FLIGHT IN MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN. THE PILOT ENCOUNTERED CLOUDS COVERING THE MOUNTAIN PASS AND ELECTED TO PROCEED TOWARD AN ALTERNATE DESTINATION. THE CLOUDS FORCED THE PILOT TO CLIMB THE HELICOPTER TO 10,500 FT MSL. THE PILOT ALLOWED THE AIRSPEED TO DECREASE, EXECUTED A TURN, AND ENCOUNTERED A DOWNDRAFT. THE PILOT WAS UNABLE TO MAINTAIN THE ALTITUDE AND THE HELICOPTER COLLIDED WITH THE MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN. THE PILOT REPORTED THAT THE HELICOPTER OR ENGINE DID NOT EXPERIENCE ANY MECHANICAL DIFFICULTIES BEFORE THE ACCIDENT. THE PERFORMANCE DATA SHOWED THAT THE HELICOPTER WAS CAPABLE OF A RATE OF CLIMB OF 700 FT/MIN IF THE PILOT HAD FLOWN THE PROPER BEST RATE OF CLIMB SPEED STRAIGHT AHEAD. AT 10,500 FT MSL, THE HELICOPTER COULD NOT HOVER IN OR OUT OF GROUND EFFECT.

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

The pilot's poor in-flight decision by failing to attain the best rate of climb speed and exceeding the helicopter's hover performance capability. The clouds and downdraft were factors in this accident.

Full narrative available

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